Harvey Weinstein on Thursday sued his namesake company for documents — including emails and his personnel file — that he says can be used to defend himself and the studio he co-founded.
Weinstein Co.’s board fired the movie mogul Oct. 8 after a New York Times article exposed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him.
In a complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court, Weinstein’s attorneys said having access to the documents will allow him to defend himself against allegations and lawsuits from alleged victims.
The New York attorney general’s office has opened a civil rights investigation into the company, and one actress has sued the studio for negligence, contending executives knew about Weinstein’s conduct.
Weinstein also wants documents to support a wrongful termination case against the company, according to the complaint. In addition, he accused the studio and its executives of leaking information from his personnel file to the media.
Weinstein owns 23% of the New York-based film and television company, which is looking for a buyer as it struggles financially.
“Mr. Weinstein believes that his email account – which is the primary, if not only, account he used during the term of his employment by the company – will contain information exonerating him, and therefore the company, from claims that may be asserted against him or the company,” the attorneys.
More than 50 women have accused Weinstein of a variety of sexual misconduct, including harassment and rape. The allegations have exposed Weinstein and his company to potentially serious legal liability.
Weinstein has denied all allegations that he engaged in nonconsensual sex. The company’s board of directors has said it was unaware of the claims against Harvey Weinstein until news reports detailed his behavior.
Weinstein Co.’s board of directors ratified Weinstein’s termination last week. His access to his company email and other documents was cut off soon thereafter, according to the complaint. In the lawsuit, Weinstein’s lawyers said he wants to use the requested documents to protect his financial interest in the company from “unjustified settlements or judgments” against the studio.
“Should the company be forced to pay out unjustified settlements or judgments, Mr. Weinstein’s interest as a member will suffer as a result,” the complaint said. “The less cash available for distribution, the less Mr. Weinstein will receive as a member.”
A representative of the Weinstein Co. did not respond to requests for comment.