Harvey Weinstein Issued Death Threats to Employees and Their Families, New Lawsuit Claims
The suit, filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleges that the Weinstein brothers and their company committed “egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws.”
Among numerous explosive claims, Schneiderman claims that Weinstein allegedly threatened the lives of his employees, saying “I will kill your family,” and, “You don’t know what I can do.”
The former producer, who was a prominent Democratic fundraiser in the past, also allegedly boasted about connections to political figures, saying that he had “contacts within the Secret Service that could take care of problems,” according to the lawsuit.
In addition to the alleged death threats, the suit claims Weinstein “regularly berated women using gender-based obscenities,” including calling female employees “c—” or “pussy” in anger.
The production company’s management and board “were repeatedly presented with credible evidence of [Weinstein]’s sexual harassment … and his use of corporate employees and resources to facilitate sexual activity with third parties,” says the suit.
For example, Schneiderman claims that the company’s human-resources department was aware that Weinstein told a female employee in 2012 that he would “cut [her] loins.” The woman allegedly issued a complaint to the company’s H.R. department saying the alleged incident made her feel “forced out” of her job and caused her “severe stress.” (The complaint was allegedly resolved through a deal that included a non-disclosure agreement).
Men were also subjected to Weinstein’s alleged cruelty, according to the lawsuit, which states that the producer called a male assistant “just a fucking f—– boy, a stupid fucking f—– boy” in an email explaining his firing to H.R.
Weinstein also allegedly enlisted at least three specialized sets of employees to help with his “sexual conquests,” according to the suit, which alleges that one group of female employees were employed primarily to accompany the mogul to events where they were expected to “facilitate” his “sexual conquests.”
Witnesses cited in the documents claim these employees were known as Weinstein’s “wing women,” and were stationed in cities around the world like London, Los Angeles and New York.
A second group of women “were compelled to take various steps to further [Weinstein]’s regular sexual activity, including by contacting ‘Friends of Harvey’ and other prospective sexual partners via text message or phone or at his direction and maintaining space on his calendar for sexual activity,” according to the lawsuit.
This group was also at times allegedly responsible for facilitating Weinstein’s erectile-dysfunction shots, including administering the injections themselves. Employees were also made to prepare his work office for sexual rendezvous, and clean up after he was finished, according to the documents. (His personal drivers were also allegedly required to keep condoms and erectile-dysfunction injections in their cars at all times).
A third team of mostly female employees were required to meet with the potential targets of his sexual conquests beforehand, and then follow through on his promises of employment afterward, the lawsuit states.
The suit also claims that women across the groups described the work as “hostile,” “demeaning” and “humiliating.”
Weinstein’s brother Bob was fully aware of Harvey’s behavior and did nothing to stop it, the suit notes.
Harvey Weinstein, 65, was one of the most powerful and influential figures in Hollywood before being accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, as well as claims that he retaliated against women who rebuffed him.
Schneiderman said Sunday the lawsuit is the result of a four-month investigation that included “interviews with multiple company employees, executives, and survivors of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct,” as well as “an exhaustive review of company records and emails.”
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He added that any sale of the Weinstein Co. “must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched.”
The Weinstein Co. has been in talks to sell itself to a group of investors led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former Obama administration official, but the lawsuit has reportedly put such negotiations on hold.
Weinstein’s attorney, Ben Brafman, responded to the lawsuit in a statement Sunday evening. “We believe that a fair investigation by Mr. Schneiderman will demonstrate that many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are without merit,” the statement said. “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.”
Brafman concluded, “If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr. Weinstein will embrace the investigation. If the purpose however is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself.”