NY Attorney General Files Civil-Rights Lawsuit Against Weinstein Co.

In the first major legal action brought against the Weinstein Company and its one-time head, disgraced Hollywood studio exec Harvey Weinstein, by a state attorney general, New York’s Eric Schneiderman has filed suit against Weinstein, his brother Robert and their film company, arguing they were all complicit in the “vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees,” according to the Daily News.

The civil-rights lawsuit, filed Sunday, created serious complications for a deal whereby former Obama SBA head Maria Contreras-Sweet had assembled a group of investors to take over the company for $500 million. The deal was expected to be signed as soon as today.

Per the New York Post, Contreras-Sweet, the head of the Small Business Administration under President Obama, is backing away from the deal after growing infuriated that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was insisting on inserting a monitor on the board of the new company, sources said.


Per Reuters, Schneiderman said he sued the company on Sunday in part because of reports that a sale of the studio could be imminent.

“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.

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, included new allegations about Weinstein’s behavior stemming from a four-month investigation. The disgraced movie mogul has been accused by nearly 100 women of sexual harassment, bullying or rape.

Among the more disturbing details from the lawsuit are allegations that Weinstein repeatedly threatened to kill employees (not unlike the Harvey Weigand character from entourage who was purportedly based on Weinstein) and bragging about contacts he had within the Secret Service.

The AG said his investigation also included an exhaustive review of company records and emails.


According to the lawsuit, Weinstein’s company employed a group of women whose primary job was to accompany Weinstein to events and to “facilitate his sexual conquests.”

“Female Weinstein employees are essentially used to facilitate his sexual conquests of vulnerable women who hope he will get them work,” said one executive, also a woman, according to the suit.

In a statement Sunday, Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman said that “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 (the Weinstein Co.).”

“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,” Brafman said.

In one disturbing detail that had been previously reported, Weinstein’s drivers in Los Angeles and New York were required to keep condoms and erectile dysfunction injections in the car at all times, papers charge.

Despite many human resources complaints, the company did nothing to protect its employees or curb Weinstein’s misconduct, the lawsuit said.

Despite many human resources complaints, the company did nothing to protect its employees or curb Weinstein’s misconduct, the lawsuit said.

The state is seeking an unspecified amount of restitution and damages, plus penalties, for harm to victims.

In addition to Schneiderman’s civil rights lawsuit, Weinstein is being sued by dozens of his accusers. And last week, the LAPD reportedly referred several cases to the DA for prosecution.

This post originally appeared on Zero Hedge


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