Class-action lawsuit filed against Weinstein Company

Harvey Weinstein is already being investigated for possible criminal charges in New York, Los Angeles and London. Now the LA Times reports a class-action lawsuit has been filed against his former company for at least $5 million:

The 59-page complaint alleges that a network of people who worked for Weinstein, including attorney David Boies, enabled his mistreatment of women and participated in what it describes as the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise.” The suit also names Miramax, the independent film studio Weinstein and his brother Bob founded and operated before selling it Disney in 1993…

The suit says a “coalition of firms and individuals” operated a racketeering enterprise dubbed the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” that facilitated the “predatory behavior” of Weinstein.

The lawsuit describes an encounter between Jane Doe and Weinstein when she was attending an audition at Miramax’s office in Los Angeles. An associate of Weinstein’s allegedly invited her to meet with the executive in his private office because he was casting a film and was looking for an actress who had her “look.”

Weinstein told her she got the role. As she was leaving he asked her to disrobe and explained he needed to see her breasts, repeatedly stating, “It’s just your breasts,” according to the suit.

When she refused, he became increasingly angry. “I can make you or I can break you,” he insisted, again demanding that she expose her breasts, the complaint states.

My first reaction to this is that $5 million would be a bargain to settle a suit involving even 20 percent of Weinstein’s accusers, but that figure is expected to grow substantially as other accusers become part of the suit.

It sounds as if this suit is targeting Weinstein’s (former) corporate assets rather than Weinstein himself. That’s probably a smart move since a guy like Weinstein is likely to have his money stored safely offshore where it can be protected from things like taxes and sexual assault victims. But the Weinstein company has existing assets which can potentially be plundered.

Remember when this all broke and Weinstein claimed he would undergo counseling and become a new man (a new man focused on the NRA)? Remember when Lisa Bloom praised him for not being the kind of guy who attacked his accusers? It will be interesting to see how he reacts to his (alleged) victims going after the company he created.