Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company are in bigger trouble as the New York Attorney General’s Office steps into the picture to file a civil rights lawsuit against the shamed film mogul and the company he built with his brother amid an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations against him.
On Sunday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made an announcement that his office has officially sued the 65-year-old film producer and the company he and his brother, Bob Weinstein, built for the numerous alleged sexual misconduct that emerged late in 2017.
According to Schneiderman’s statement posted on the NY Attorney General’s Office’s official website, Weinstein Co. is included in the lawsuit because it failed to protect its employees and talents from Harvey Weinstein.
“As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination,” he said.
Based on the article, the New York Attorney General has been conducting an investigation for four months since the first slew of Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment accusations emerged and found that the company “endangered employees” to Harvey Weinstein’s “vicious and exploitative mistreatment.”
According to BBC News, the lawsuit against the 65-year-old Miramax co-founder included examples of such mistreatment and abuse that include verbal threats questionable actions such as requiring his drivers to “keep condoms and erectile dysfunction injections in the car at all times.”
In response, Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman said “a fair investigation” would reveal that many of the allegations against his client “are without merit.”
“While Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality, and at the end of the inquiry it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader and there was zero discrimination at either Miramax or TWC.”
The lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General’s Office also required any sale of the Weinstein Co. to compensate the victims of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, effectively putting negotiations for its sale to former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet and a group of investors to a screeching halt, based on a report from the New York Times.
“Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman said in the press release.
According to the NY Times, the lawsuit appeared to delay the sale of the disgraced mogul’s namesake company, if not ultimately killing any chance it had at avoiding bankruptcy.
Apparently, the deal for the TWC’s sale, which was expected to be finalized on Sunday, was pegged at about $275 million. However, two insiders who requested anonymity told the outlet that $225 million was expected to be allotted to pay off the company’s debts.