Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Sunday announced a lawsuit filed against the once-powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, his brother Bob and the company the men founded.
The suit contends the company and its founders violated the civil rights and human rights of their employees and the state’s business laws. The legal action comes after Harvey Weinstein was accused by multiple women last year of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct.
Weinstein was forced out of the movie production company he founded, the Weinstein Company, which later was put up for sale. Schneiderman’s suit contends harassment victims should benefit from the company’s sale.
Schneiderman’s lawsuit argues the company itself failed to protect workers from a widespread culture of harassment and abuse.
At the same time, the suit also argues co-CEO Bob Weinstein failed to crate a safe workplace, as did the company’s human resources department.
The allegations detailed in the lawsuit outline relatively new public claims of alleged missteps by the company when it came to how it handled harassment claims that in turn fed a hostile work environment.
“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 statement.
“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.”
Weinstein in New York has so far alluded legal repercussions based on the allegations he’s faced, which spurred a societal movement leading to other prominent men in the entertainment, media and in politics to face accusations of misbehavior and wrongdoing.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance declined to prosecute Weinstein last year after his office concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge him with sexual assault.
Vance faced criticism for the decision and it was later revealed an attorney for Weinstein contributed to the district attorney’s campaign days before the assault charges were waived. Vance insisted there was no correlation between the donation and the decision to not prosecute.