Harvey Weinstein faces assault claims from two more women, and his company is sued for negligence
Two more women accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault Tuesday, and the company he co-founded is facing a potentially costly lawsuit over his conduct.
Mimi Haleyi, a production assistant on a Weinstein Co. TV show, said Tuesday she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in 2006 in New York.
On the same day, actress Dominique Huett said Weinstein sexually abused her in 2010 in Beverly Hills and she sued his company for negligence, marking the first civil suit over the former co-chairman’s alleged abuses since the scandal came to light.
They are the latest among more than half a dozen women who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault or rape and among more than 50 women who have publicly detailed a range of inappropriate behavior by the mogul.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein said that “allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied.”
The latest allegations against Weinstein come as the disgraced producer’s company is fighting for its life. Private equity firm Colony Capital is doing its due diligence before it decides whether to buy the Weinstein Co. after providing the New York mini-studio with a financial lifeline.
Haleyi made the accusations at a news conference alongside attorney Gloria Allred at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan.
Haleyi said the attack occurred during a visit to Weinstein’s apartment in New York when she was in her 20s. After fighting off his advances, she said the mogul forced himself on her and performed oral sex. She tried to deter him by telling him she was menstruating but he persisted, she said.
“I was mortified. I was in disbelief and I was disgusted,” Haleyi said. “I would not have had anyone do that to me even if that person was a romantic partner.”
She said that during the alleged attack, Weinstein held her down on a bed in his Soho loft that appeared to be in a “kids’ room with kids drawings on the wall.”
Haleyi said she wanted a career in television and movie production and worked on a Weinstein-produced TV show in 2006, but she did not reveal the title. She first met Weinstein in 2004 at the European premiere of “The Aviator” in London and met with him a number of times to discuss working on company projects, she said.
She said she had fended off Weinstein during several meetings she had with him in New York and in Cannes, France. At those meetings in hotel rooms, Haleyi said, Weinstein asked her to give him a massage. She refused and said she had no interest in a personal relationship with him. He persisted, even showing up twice unannounced at an apartment she was staying at in the East Village in Manhattan, she said.
Haleyi said she continued to meet with Weinstein in spite of his sexual advances because she “wanted to maintain a good relationship with him” as she pursued a career in the entertainment industry.
Haleyi’s description of her encounters with Weinstein resembled those of many other accusers. Police in New York, London and Los Angeles are investigating allegations against Weinstein, who was recently ousted from his company.
Allred did not say whether Haleyi will file criminal or civil charges.
“It may not be within the statute of limitations, however it may be relevant information for law enforcement to have as they investigate Mr. Weinstein,” Allred said.
Allred represents a number of women who have come forward to accuse Weinstein of harassment or sexual assault.
Huett, the actress, said in a civil complaint that Weinstein lured her into his Beverly Hills hotel room in 2010 under the guise of a business meeting about her career. Then he demanded that she give him a massage and let him perform oral sex on her, according to a seven-page complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“Weinstein persisted and would not take ‘no’ for an answer,” the complaint said.
During their communications, Weinstein gave Huett contact information for an executive producer with “Project Runway,” a fashion design competition show that the Weinstein Co. produces, according to the lawsuit.
“[Weinstein Co.] executives, officers and employees had actual knowledge of Weinstein’s repeated acts of sexual misconduct with women,” the complaint said.
Huett has not filed a criminal complaint against Weinstein.
As Weinstein faces more accusations, the woes have continued to mount for his studio. New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman’s office on Monday launched a civil rights investigation into Weinstein Co., issuing a subpoena seeking troves of documents, including any files related to harassment complaints and settlements.
Filmmakers are trying to distance themselves from the company. The producers of “Paddington 2” have said they’re hoping to find a new U.S. distributor for their movie to replace the Weinstein Co., which paid $20 million for the U.S. rights to the family film, according to one insider.
Colony Capital, Thomas Barrack’s private equity firm, has about a week and a half to decide whether to buy the assets of the beleaguered studio, said people close to the situation who were unauthorized to comment.
Colony previously bought movie studio Miramax — the first studio founded by Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob — with a team of investors in 2010. The brothers had left by 2005 after an acrimonious relationship with parent company Disney. Colony sold Miramax to a Qatari broadcaster last year.
As with Miramax, Colony is thought to be most interested in the Weinstein Co.’s film library. It may keep other pieces, like the TV business known for “Project Runway,” or sell them off, people familiar with the matter said.
Bob Weinstein, now his namesake company’s lone chairman, is not expected to remain at the firm if it is sold to Colony, people familiar with the matter said. The younger Weinstein had initially said the company was not for sale and was maneuvering to retain a leadership role.
The Weinstein Co., known for movies including “The King’s Speech” and “Django Unchained,” was struggling with a lack of box-office hits even before its former co-chairman was accused of sexual harassment and assault. Harvey Weinstein was fired by the company’s board Oct. 8.
Bankruptcy or liquidation may await if no deal is reached with Colony or another buyer. People close to the company said it has enough capital to survive through the end of the year. If Colony decides against buying the Weinstein Co., there are about 20 serious potential investors waiting to swoop in, one person said.
The Weinstein Co. is hoping to avoid the fate of Relativity Media, which is now essentially defunct after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015. The once high-rolling studio founded by Ryan Kavanaugh said it had secured investors and had multiple buyers waiting in the wings as it stood on the edge of collapse. Now Relativity is a ghost of its former self.
Representatives for the Weinstein Co. and Colony Capital did not respond to requests for comment.
6:50 p.m.: This article was updated with information about a new lawsuit against the Weinstein Co.
2:55 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about Haleyi’s account.
This article was originally published at 12:30 p.m.
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