NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing Harvey Weinstein and his former company for alleged sexual misconduct following a four-month investigation.
Schneiderman said in the lawsuit that The Weinstein Company broke state law by not protecting its employees from pervasive sexual harassment. The Attorney General is suing to block the sale of The Weinstein Company and ensure that the alleged victims are compensated if the company is sold.
“As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination,” Schneiderman said in a news release. “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. Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear.”
The news release said an “exhaustive review” of Weinstein Company records and emails unearthed numerous specific examples of harassment and intimidation.
• Weinstein allegedly made remarks to employees to the effect of, “I will kill you,” “I will kill your family,” and, “You don’t know what I can do.” He allegedly touted his connections to powerful political figures and said he had contacts within the Secret Service that could take care of problems.
• Allegedly at Weinstein’s direction, The Weinstein Company employed a group of “wing women” who accompanied Weinstein to events and were expected to “facilitate” his sexual conquests. One group was flown from London to New York to teach Weinstein’s assistants how to dress and smell more attractive to Weinstein, the Attorney General’s office alleged.
• Another group of predominantly female employees worked as Weinstein’s assistants and were expected to take “various steps to ensure (Weinstein’s) regular sexual activity, including contacting “Friends of Harvey” or other prospective sexual contacts by text or phone and maintaining space on Weinstein’s calendar for sexual activity, the AG’s office alleged.
• A third group of female Weinstein Company employees – this group made up of executives – was also expected to facilitate Weinstein’s sexual contacts, the AG’s office said. Weinstein allegedly required the executives to follow through on promising employment opportunities to women who met with Weinstein’s favor, the AG’s office alleged.
• One female executive allegedly told the Weinstein Company’s human resources department that “only female executives are put in these positions with actresses with whom (Weinstein) has a ‘personal friendship,’ which to my understanding means he has either had or wants to have sexual relations with them,” but human resources took no action, the AG’s office alleged.
• Weinstein allegedly made quid pro quo demands of sexual favors to advance at The Weinstein Company or avoid adverse employment consequences, the AG’s office said.
• On one occasion in 2015, Weinstein allegedly asked a female employee to go to his hotel room at the end of the day to set up his phone or devices for the next day, or for some other work-related reason, the AG’s office alleged. When the employee arrived, Weinstein was naked under a bathrobe and asked for a massage, and cajoled her into obliging when she said no, the AG’s office said. Human resources and board members learned about the incident but did nothing, the AG’s office said.
• On other occasions in 2014 and 2015, Weinstein allegedly exposed himself to a female employee and made her take dictation from him as he leered at her while naked on his bed, the AG’s office alleged. The same employee also claimed Weinstein would insist she sit next to him in a chauffeured vehicle and put his hand on her upper thigh and buttocks near her genitals while rubbing her body without consent, the AG’s office alleged. When she tried to put bags or other barriers between them, he would move them, the AG’s office said.
• On another occasion, Weinstein allegedly said he might have to fire a female employee because his daughter was angry with her, and asked what the employee was “prepared to do” to keep her job, the AG’s office said. The employee quit.
• Weinstein allegedly required his assistants to schedule “personals” where they had to clear their schedules his for sexual activity during the workday and after work, the AG’s office said.
• Weinstein’s assistants kept copies of a document called the “Bible” – an assistant-created guide to working for Weinstein that included information about his likes and dislikes, and a list of his “friends” and directions for setting up “personals” for Weinstein’s sexual activity, the AG’s office said.
• Weinstein’s drivers in New York City and Los Angeles were required to keep condoms and erectile dysfunction injections in their cars at all times, the AG’s office said.
The AG’s office also accused The Weinstein Company of failing to take action, failing to treat complaints confidentially and even forwarding them to Weinstein himself, and calling for nondisclosure agreements.
Weinstein’s brother, Robert Weinstein, was also accused in the lawsuit of failing to prevent Harvey Weinstein from committing sexual harassment.
CBS News’ legal analyst Rikki Klieman said Schneiderman’s biggest goal is to protect the women whom Weinstein is accused of victimizing.
“He wants the new Weinstein Company to be put in a position that they must create a fund that is sufficient to then pay for the damages that have happened to women in the past by Harvey Weinstein, if the allegations are proven in the civil suit,” Klieman said.
Ben Brafman, an attorney representing Harvey Weinstein, released a statement in response to the lawsuit.
“We believe that a fair investigation by Mr. Schneiderman will demonstrate that many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein 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,” the statement said.
Brafman’s statement continued: “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.”
Several dozen women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein. Weinstein’s representatives have denied all accusations of non-consensual sex, but no charges have been filed.
Weinstein was ousted from the movie company he founded following a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that began with a bombshell New York Times article in early October. Since then, numerous prominent men in entertainment, business and politics and the media have been hit with allegations of improper behavior with women.
Weinsteinis being investigated by police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)