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  • New York Attorney General Schneiderman in New York City September 6, 2017.

    New York Attorney General Schneiderman in New York City September 6, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 February 2018
Opinion

NY's attorney general is suing The Weinstein Company for “egregious examples of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein and repeated violations of New York Law by company officials”

New York State is suing The Weinstein Company (TWC) for “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends that extended from in or about 2005 through at least in or about October 2017.”

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The NYS Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman announced the lawsuit against TWC - founded and co-owned by the Hollywood elite brothers, Harvey and Bob Weinstein - today citing “egregious examples of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein and repeated violations of New York Law by company officials that endangered employees.”

The lawsuit comes just as TWC was in the last round of talks to sell the company to a group of private investors led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, who worked for the Barack Obama administration.

Schneiderman’s weekend measure halted sales negotiations.

The attorney general tweets that before the company is bought TWC “must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched.”

The Contreras-Sweet group is looking to purchase the company for approximately US$275 million, and its debt of around US$225 million, according to the New York Times.

Sunday’s suit accuses Harvey of chronic and extreme sexual harassment in the workplace and even threatening to kill female employees who didn’t comply with his advances.

The complaint reads, among other allegations, that for years the elder Weinstein orchestrated circuit of employees that facilitated his sexual conquests, including hiring female assistants whose job it was to “contact “Friends of Harvey” and other prospective sexual partners via text message or phone at his direction and maintaining space on his calendar for sexual activity.”  

In addition, Harvey’s repeatedly forcing different women to have sex with him was common knowledge among the company’s top executives and human resources, but they did nothing to stop his “pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination” within the company, says the NYS attorney general’s office.

Since last October over 84 women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino have accused Harvey of sexual misconduct. Annabella Sciorra says Weinstein raped her in 1992.

The New York attorney general’s office did not specify the amount of compensation it is seeking on behalf of the state or Harvey’s victims.
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