New York, NY: A new class action lawsuit has been filed against Harvey Weinstein and affiliates alleging the defendants engaged in an illegal organized enterprise to conceal and further Weinstein’s pattern of sexual assault.
The lawsuit’s six plaintiffs, namely Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt are representing a proposed class of hundreds of actresses who suffered sexual assault, false imprisonment, battery, rape and other heinous sexual acts at the hands of Harvey Weinstein.
According to the plaintiffs bringing the case, they were lured by Miramax or TWC employees and isolated with Weinstein at industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein’s home, office meetings and/or auditions or to discuss involvement in a project. The lawsuit filed against Weinstein, Miramax, The Weinstein Company Holdings and the members of its Board of Directors states that these entities colluded together to perpetuate and conceal Weinstein’s widespread sexual harassment and assaults.
Further, the complaint states that Miramax and The Weinstein Company (which Weinstein co-founded) facilitated Weinstein’s organized pattern of predatory behavior, equating to an enterprise that violates the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act, the same law brought against members of the Mafia for organized criminal behavior.
Each of the lawsuit’s six plaintiffs allege they were separately and systematically lured into isolating and intimidating environments by Weinstein, under false pretenses of industry-related meetings. They were assaulted, imprisoned in hotel rooms, airplanes and his home, and faced career-ending threats if they refused his unwanted advances and requests. In the instance of plaintiff, Sarah Ann Thomas, “Weinstein conducted the interview in his underwear, embraced Thomas in a sexual manner, and did not give her the job when she did not take him up on his sexual propositions.”
“Weinstein’s widespread sexual misconduct did not occur without the help of others,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, over time, Weinstein enlisted the aid of other firms and individuals to facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct. This coalition of firms and individuals became part of the growing ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise,’ a RICO enterprise.”
The complaint highlights reports from The New Yorker detailing “Weinstein’s Army of Spies” that Weinstein engaged to harass, threaten, extort, investigate and mislead his victims and the media to prevent the prosecution, reporting or disclosure of his sexual misconduct. This included members posing as fake journalists, and in the case of Plaintiff Katherine Kendall, contacting her, causing significant additional distress. These enterprise members also destroyed and concealed records and other evidence, the complaint states.
The lawsuit brings various charges against Weinstein, his companies, and members of The Weinstein Company’s Board of Directors for violating the RICO Act, witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit seeks retribution for class members’ loss of work opportunities and devastating damage to their careers, the damages for which can be tripled under RICO law. Plaintiffs also seek damages for the significant physical and emotional distress they endured then, and continue to endure now.
The lawsuit highlights that at all times, Weinstein’s victims and those who met to discuss projects or audition for him “operated under duress and the threat of being blacklisted” by Weinstein and major producers at Miramax if they refused, or spoke up.
If you were in any way involved in discussions of projects with, or auditioned for Harvey Weinstein, met with him at industry events, or your meetings with him were set up by Miramax or The Weinstein Company employees, find out more about this lawsuit.