NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit in federal court on Sunday against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, his brother Robert and the firm that both lead, The Weinstein Company (TWC), after a four-month investigation into inappropriate sexual conduct.
The lawsuit includes new allegations against Weinstein, who heads his production studio, regarding “vicious and exploitative mistreatment” of company employees, according to a statement.
The formerly powerful producer was accused of sexual harassment and assault for the first time in two reports in early October after dozens of women came out with new testimony against him, and shortly thereafter the New York AG’s office began to investigate TWC.
The lawsuit claims that executives for the firm “repeatedly failed to take meaningful steps to protect company employees or curb (Harvey Weinstein’s) misconduct” despite “many complaints” made by victims to the company’s human resources department, among other things.
The suit also says that Weinstein’s contract extension included “an unusual provision that effectively monetized, rather than prohibited, ongoing acts of sexual harassment and misconduct.”
The producer’s contract stated that if the company had to “make a payment to satisfy a claim that you have treated someone improperly in violation of the Company’s Code of Conduct,” then Harvey Weinstein would face a $250,000 penalty for the first such instance, followed by “$500,000, for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each such additional instance,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says that Weinstein’s firm repeatedly broke New York laws by not protecting its employees from sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination, Schneiderman said, asserting that the victims should receive compensation.
The AG also filed the lawsuit in the face of the “imminent sale” of TWC, which he believes would leave the victims without adequate compensation and the terms of which would allow the accused to obtain new executive positions in a new firm.
According to details shared by the AG’s office, Weinstein allegedly repeatedly told some employees that he would “kill” them and their families if they crossed him, adding that they didn’t know what he was capable of and other such threats.
Meanwhile, Schneiderman claims that Robert Weinstein allowed Harvey to create a hostile work environment and was aware of his brother’s sexual misconduct.