The state of New York has filed a lawsuit against The Weinstein Company for “egregious” civil rights violations that include “vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees,” the attorney general’s office said.
“The suit, filed today in New York County Supreme Court, includes new and extensive allegations about longtime company CEO Harvey Weinstein’s vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees,” the office said in a statement.
The lawsuit, filed by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, names Harvey and Bob Weinstein, as well as the Weinstein Company, as its sole defendants, creating a potential hurdle for investors Maria Contreras-Sweet and Ron Burkle, who were reportedly days away from purchasing the embattled independent film company.
“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,” the lawsuit reads. “Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear.”
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, said that many of the allegations his client are “without merit.”
“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 said.
“If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr. Weinstein will embrace the investigation,” he continued. “If the purpose however is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself.”