Weinstein Company’s future is still up in the air after New York AG suit

Weinstein Company\'s future is still up in the air after New York AG suit
nAttorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060n[email protected]: @AGSchneiderman


It;s a little out of the ordinary to think of a single abuser;s conduct as a kind of mass tort. But from the perspective of the company, that;s exactly what Harvey Weinstein;s conduct seems to have been. He was a central moving force in the company, building relationships and producing films. And in the course of doing so, he was (assuming the truth of the allegations) simultaneously inflicting unlawful harm on many, many women, using the leverage of his official position.

Four Month Investigation Reveals New and Egregious Examples of Sexual Misconduct By Harvey Weinstein and Repeated Violations of New York Law By Company Officials That Endangered Employees 

It would have been foolhardy for any investor to acquire the Weinstein Co. without having a strategy to manage any liabilities. As of October, more than 90 women said they were victimized by Weinstein, more than dozen of whom said they had been raped. The list continues to be updated, and the numbers continue to rise. Weinstein has denied allegations of nonconsensual sex, and his attorney said Sunday ;there certainly was no criminality; in his actions.

A.G. Schneiderman Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against The Weinstein Companies, Harvey Weinstein, And Robert …

 AG’s Lawsuit Alleges Company Executives and Board Repeatedly Failed to Protect Employees From Then-CEO Harvey Weinstein’s Unrelenting Sexual Harassment, Intimidation, and Discrimination

For the Weinstein Co. to have been legally liable for Harvey Weinstein;s harm to his victims, he would have to had been acting in his official capacity. It would also help the victims; case if the company;s employees had helped facilitate his conduct. Both of these circumstances seem relatively easy to prove. So the company could very well be on the hook for much more than $30 million.

AG Files Lawsuit to Ensure Victims Will Be Compensated, Employees Will Be Protected Moving Forward, and Parties Responsible For Egregious Misconduct Will Not Be Newly Empowered As Part of Any Future Sale 

Given those numbers, it seems entirely possible that $30 million would have been an inadequate sum to designate for compensation. Damages would likely go beyond the direct costs and extraordinary pain and suffering associated with rape and harassment. They could very well include lost wages by actors whose careers Weinstein is said to have torpedoed after his advances were rejected.

Harvey Weinstein sued by New York attorney general

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today filed suit against The Weinstein Company (“TWC”), Harvey Weinstein, and Robert Weinstein for egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws. The suit, filed today in New York County Supreme Court, includes new and extensive allegations about longtime company CEO Harvey Weinstein’s (“HW”) vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees. Today’s suit includes numerous employee-victim accounts of sexual harassment, intimidation, and other misconduct.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman effectively blocked a sale of the failing Weinstein Co. on Sunday by suing it for violating state sex discrimination laws. Is he a white knight protecting the interests of Harvey Weinstein;s victims? Or a publicity-seeking politician poised to destroy investors; value by forcing the company into bankruptcy?

According to the Attorney General’s (“OAG”) lawsuit, despite many complaints to TWC’s human resources department and widespread knowledge across the company’s leadership of HW’s persistent misconduct, TWC executives and the Board repeatedly failed to take meaningful steps to protect company employees or curb HW’s misconduct.

A.G. Schneiderman Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against The Weinstein Companies, Harvey Weinstein, And Robert ...
A.G. Schneiderman Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against The Weinstein Companies, Harvey Weinstein, And Robert …

NY attorney general blasts proposed Weinstein Co. sale and ‘complicit’ management

“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,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “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 Company Sale Delayed by NY Attorney General Lawsuit
Weinstein Company Sale Delayed by NY Attorney General Lawsuit

Today’s lawsuit is the result of an ongoing four month investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”). The investigation included interviews with multiple company employees, executives, and survivors of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. The investigation also included an exhaustive review of company records and emails.

In general, it;s preferable from the victims; perspective for a company that harmed them stay in business, make a profit — and be able to afford to compensate them fully for their injuries. If a sale will save a company and simultaneously allow for a compensation fund, it should ordinarily be allowed to go through.
Weinstein Company Sale Delayed by NY Attorney General Lawsuit
Weinstein Company Sale Delayed by NY Attorney General Lawsuit

NY Attorney General Lambasts Weinstein Co.’s \”Despicable\” Conduct

Specific examples of HW’s harassment, intimidation, assault, and a hostile work environment alleged in the complaint include, among many others:

Specific allegations of misconduct by company management include, among others: 

Civil Rights Lawsuit Derails Deal To Sell Off Weinstein Co.: Reports

As detailed above, according to OAG’s investigation, none of the voluminous complaints filed with TWC Human Resources resulted in meaningful investigation or relief for victims, or consequences for HW. Instead, TWC Human Resources variously claimed there was “nothing” that could be done to address the misconduct; immediately informed HW of the complaint, thereby facilitating retaliation by HW against the complainant; or helped facilitate swift departure of the complainant from the company in connection with a settlement that contained an NDA at the direction of the HR Director’s superiors.

The timing of the lawsuit was intentional, as the attorney general’s office said its review of the deal found that it did not include a victims compensation fund, contrary to what the investor group said, according to the Times. The lawsuit mentioned that the sale of the company could also financially benefit Weinstein or his enablers. The lawsuit also charges that the deal would mean female employees would report to the same managers who already failed to protect them from Weinstein.

TWC’s culture of harassment and intimidation remained shrouded in secrecy because of HW’s and TWC’s practice of securing silence through Non-Disclosure Agreements (“NDAs”) that prohibited individuals from speaking about their experiences at TWC. In October 2017, Attorney General Schneiderman opened an investigation after initial reports regarding HW – using the Attorney General’s investigative authorities, including investigative subpoena power, to begin removing that shroud of secrecy.  

The investor group that planned to buy the company said it would set aside $20 million to $30 million for a settlement fund for Weinstein’s victims, according to Variety. Weinstein’s brother, Bob Weinstein, would leave the studio, and the group had said it planned to put more women in leadership positions. But the new owners would make David Glasser, Harvey Weinstein’s right-hand man, the new CEO.

While the Attorney General’s investigation remains ongoing, OAG is bringing suit today to seek court intervention in light of its investigative findings to date and the reported imminent sale of TWC – which OAG has a substantive basis to believe would leave victims without adequate redress, including a lack of a sufficient victims compensation fund. OAG also believes that the proposed terms of the sale would allow the perpetrators or enablers of the misconduct to see a windfall, and allow top officials at TWC who share responsibility for the misconduct to serve in executive positions of the new entity – where they would again oversee the adjudication of HR complaints, including those of sexual harassment, intimidation, and assault.

The suit, filed Sunday in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, halted the company’s sale, which was expected to be finalized that day, according to the New York Times. If the sale doesn’t go through, the company, which has struggled since accusations against Weinstein began piling up in October, will be headed toward bankruptcy, according to the Times.

Those who believe they were victims of or witnesses to the misconduct described in the complaint should call the Civil Rights Bureau hotline at 212-416-8250 or [email protected]

Other lawsuits have been filed against the company, including one by actor and model Dominique Huett accusing the company of negligence. A class-action lawsuit filed in December accused men on the company’s board of enabling the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise.”

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Is Suing The Weinstein Company

The Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office is committed to combating gender discrimination and sexual harassment faced by women across all industries. The Civil Rights Bureau encourages those who encounter such conduct to contact the office at 212-416-8250 or [email protected]

New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company accusing the studio of creating a “toxic environment” that allowed movie producer Harvey Weinstein to sexually abuse and harass women at his company.

This case is being handled by Howard Master, Senior Enforcement Counsel, and by Anjana Samant, Assistant Attorney General, and Amanda Addision, volunteer Assistant Attorney General, in the Civil Rights Bureau. Lourdes Rosado is the Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau. The Civil Rights Bureau is part of the Division of Social Justice, which is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Matthew Colangelo.

The lawsuit alleges that the Weinstein Company and the two Weinstein brothers who founded it violated state and city laws related to discrimination, harassment, abuse, and coercion, according to the Times.

The People of the State of New York v. Maurice R. Greenberg & Howard I. Smith

The cops, the FBI, and the White House chief of staff all knew, and he still continued to rise through the ranks of our government’s highest office.

Harvey Weinstein’s board of directors were culpable in his years of sexual harassment and bullying against women, the state attorney general contended Monday, and he’s pushing back against any plans to give them more power in the future.

Weinstein has denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex, and his company has denied the board knew of his actions.

During a news conference about his ongoing civil rights suit against the disgraced Hollywood mogul, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he was appalled by the details of the pending $500 million sale of The Weinstein Company to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet.

The Latest: NY AG says Weinstein Co. covered up abuses

The deal reportedly had no compensation to Weinstein’s victims, and kept several Weinstein board members in top positions, including COO David Glasser who Schneiderman said was poised to be the CEO of the new company.

What the NY AG must do to prove ‘pervasive sexual harassment’ by Weinstein

“This complaint reflects the conduct of Harvey Weinstein, but what it’s really about is corporate liability,” he said.

State AG’s suit says Weinstein Company violated civil rights laws by covering up harassment

Schneiderman’s suit, which was filed Sunday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, claims that Harvey Weinstein, his brother Robert — who was co-CEO of the company — and its board violated the state’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws by allowing the harassment to continue. Glasser, in particular, was forwarded several complaints from women about Harvey Weinstein’s lewd behavior, such as hiring “wing women” to facilitate his sexual conquests, but he didn’t fully investigate the claims, according to Schneiderman’s office.

The attorney general is looking for an unspecified amount of restitution and damages, plus penalties for harm to victims.

The sale of the Weinstein Company, which has over 250 employees, to the investment group was reportedly imminent, but on hold Sunday in light of the lawsuit, according to a source familiar with the deal.

The source also said Contreras-Sweet was in talks with the attorney general’s office over the weekend and was scheduled to have a longer conversation Monday about the deal, which would include setting up an all-female board and providing compensation.

The attorney general is urging anyone looking to purchase the Weinstein company to take serious considerations before signing the dotted line. In addition to the removal of Glasser and other board members, the attorney general called for adequate compensation to the sexual harassment victims and for stronger employee protections moving forward.

Talks still on for Weinstein Company deal: source

“Both the board and management have legal obligations to stop this. This is not optional,” he said.

Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman said the lawsuit would prove that the sex harassment allegations were without merit.

“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,” he said in a statement.

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