An anonymous actress represented by attorney Gloria Allred has sued movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for sexual battery and assault incidents that allegedly took place in 2015 and 2016.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the actress also accused Weinstein Co. of negligence. The lawsuit marks the latest in a series of legal actions against the New York-based company after a barrage of sexual misconduct allegations against its co-founder. More than 50 women have alleged they were harassed or assaulted by Weinstein, and police in New York, Los Angeles and London have launched investigations into some of the claims.
The disgraced filmmaker has categorically denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” a Weinstein spokeswoman said in a statement. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
The company is strictly liable for Weinstein’s alleged mistreatment of women while he was acting “within the scope of his employment,” the complaint said. Weinstein was fired Oct. 8.
“The companies’ executives, officers, directors, managing agents and employees had actual knowledge of Weinstein’s repeated acts of sexual misconduct with women,” the suit alleged. “The companies were aware of Weinstein’s pattern of using his power and the promise of procuring jobs to coerce and force actresses to engage in sexual acts with him.”
Weinstein Co.’s board of directors has denied having knowledge of the full extent of Weinstein’s alleged behavior. The suit cited Weinstein’s 2015 employment contract as evidence that the company was aware of his behavior.
According to the 20-page document, the actress, referred to as Jane Doe, met Weinstein in 2011 at a party at Chateau Marmont, where the mogul allegedly offered to help with her acting career and got her phone number.
In 2015, they met at the Montage Hotel to discuss acting roles, including one in the Weinstein Co. series “Marco Polo,” the complaint said. There, he allegedly masturbated in front of her while gripping her wrist, despite her saying “no.” Then in 2016 at the same hotel, he forcibly performed oral and vaginal sex on her, the complaint alleged. She never received a job offer, the complaint said.
Allred said Tuesday night that her client wishes to remain anonymous and had not filed a complaint with police.
The lawsuit is the latest of several claims against the company, which has been struggling to stay afloat as legal and financial woes mount, threatening to push it into bankruptcy. Creditor AI International Holdings last week sued the business, seeking repayment of a loan made to Weinstein Co. last year.