New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Harvey Weinstein in state court on Sunday, alleging that employees of the former movie mogul and his company endured “pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination.”
Weinstein’s younger brother, Bob, who co-founded and owns The Weinstein Co., was also named in the suit, which could complicate the company’s sale: Schneiderman said in a statement that sale terms must ensure compensation for Weinstein’s alleged victims.
A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein declined to comment. His spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment; neither did a lawyer for Bob Weinstein, who the suit alleges failed to stop his brother’s actions. Harvey Weinstein hasn’t been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied “allegations of non-consensual sex.”
The suit comes after a four-month investigation that included interviews with employees, executives and “survivors of Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct,” the documents say. Schneiderman’s office also reviewed company records and emails.
According to the suit, Harvey Weinstein threatened to kill employees and their families, bragged about how his Secret Service contacts could “take care of problems” and used female employees to “facilitate sexual conquests of vulnerable women.”
He also allegedly made offers of career advancement in exchange for sexual favors, the suit says.
Despite repeated complaints about the alleged behavior, the company’s human resources director and other managers didn’t investigate the allegations, the suit says. Bob Weinstein, who has called his brother “a very sick man” and a “world class liar,” was also told of the alleged misconduct four years ago, it says, but didn’t end it.
The suit seeks unspecified damages and $500 to $500,000 per violation of civil and human rights laws.
The company’s board fired Harvey Weinstein in October after a New York Times report alleged decades of sexual misconduct. In the months since, dozens of women have accused him of misconduct and he has faced numerous lawsuits from, among others, actresses, a scriptwriter and a personal assistant.
He could also face criminal charges. Los Angeles police last week sent three cases to prosecutors in which women accused Weinstein of sex crimes. Authorities didn’t provide additional details.