Six women have filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, his brother, and board members of Miramax and the Weinstein Company for participating in a conspiracy to conceal Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults and incessant harassment. Instead of immediately terminating Weinstein, his co-defendants allowed the accused sexual predator to perpetuate his misconduct by paying off victims and harassing journalists investigating Weinstein’s alleged crimes.
On Wednesday, Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status against Weinstein and his associates. The six plaintiffs also released a joint statement regarding their reasons for suing the infamous film mogul.
In their statement, the women wrote, “On October 8, 2017, The New York Times published an article that outed Harvey Weinstein as both an abuser of women and an aggressive bully. By week’s end, the entire world knew what we have silently known for decades: Harvey Weinstein serially abused us and many other women, using his vast wealth and power to threaten, intimidate, stalk, harass and silence us.”
Last month, The New Yorker revealed that Weinstein had deployed former Mossad agents and other former Israeli spies to harass and intimidate both his victims and enemies. At least two private investigators from Black Cube used false identities to approach Rose McGowan when she threatened to publicly accuse Weinstein of rape.
“We are but six women representing hundreds,” the joint statement continued. “Dozens have come forward so far, and many more remain in the shadows, still trying to find their courage. They are watching us defend ourselves for not coming forward sooner. They are reading internet comments, assessing the risks of coming forward and hoping that a few of us can obtain justice without them having to add their names to the list and go down in history as having been ‘Weinsteined’. That is not a label any of us wish to wear. But we will, if we can transform our horror stories into a cultural shift.
“Soon after the Weinstein story broke, the world learned that individuals, companies and an entire industry knew about the pattern of abuse we suffered, but covered it up and turned a blind eye. It has been two months and the world is still asking how this could have happened. How could so many women have been violated? How could so many people have covered up for him? How could so many people have done nothing to help?
Besides naming Harvey Weinstein, the lawsuit also accuses Bob Weinstein, his brother and former business partner; James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks and former Weinstein Company board member; Marc Lasry, a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks; Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund manager; and Lance Maerov, an executive at WPP; as well as many yet-to-be-identified officials at Miramax and the Weinstein Company. In the wake of numerous allegations, Harvey Weinstein was eventually fired from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“Today we stand together, united in one cause, to stop systemic sexual abuse in the workplace and the silencing of victims with NDAs and threats to their careers and wellbeing,” the women wrote on Wednesday. “We have watched with horror, amazement, pride and gratitude in the last two months as women (and men) the world over have come forward and named their abusers. We stand with all those brave people who have had the courage and temerity to shine a spotlight into the darkness. Predators thrive in the shadows. It is only by keeping their secrets for them that we allow them to get away with it.
“That stops today.
“Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.
“Let’s finally do something about it.”