A Canadian actress-model is launching a $4M lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, Disney and others that claims he sexually assaulted her twice in 2000. Filing as Jane Doe, the woman says the now-disgraced producer “pushed her onto the bed, and took his penis out of his pants … forced down her skirt and held her down by her wrists,” among other allegations in the statement of claim first reported by the Toronto Sun.
“Weinstein is a serial sexual predator who, by the time of the assaults on [Doe], had well-developed methods for targeting young actresses and luring them into situations that he considered optimal for sexually harassing and assaulting them,” the lawsuit says.
The anonymous plaintiff — who is among the women who publicly accused the Oscar-winning former mogul of sexual assault and rape as part of the New York Times exposé — also lists as defendants the Weinstein Company, Miramax, its then-corporate parent Disney and Barbara Schneeweiss, then Weinstein’s assistant and now TWC’s VP Production and Development. The suit claims that Schneeweiss knew about her boss’ sexual predation and helped facilitate the attacks.
Disney issued a statement today via a spokesperson: “The Weinsteins operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy, and we were unaware of any complaints, lawsuits, or settlements. There is absolutely no legal basis for this claim against The Walt Disney Company and we will defend against it vigorously.”
The suit claims that Weinstein introduced himself to the Toronto-based Doe on the set of a Miramax movie in which she was filming a small role. The next day, the suit claims, Schneeweiss called to tell the actress that Weinsteins was impressed with her work and wanted to meet her for breakfast at a Vancouver hotel “to discuss her career and potential opportunities with Miramax.” Doe thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime and went to the meeting with resume and headshots in hand. She says she asked her agent to join her but that the agent had another meeting, so she went alone.
The suit claims that Schneeweiss met Doe at the Sutton Place Hotel restaurant and told her Weinstein was on a call in his suite and that their meeting had been moved upstairs. After discussing the actress’ career and experience with Doe, he sent Schneeweiss out of the room.
According to the Sun, the lawsuit claims that “Once alone with Doe, Weinstein announced: ‘I like massages. What do you think about massages?’ Doe said she thought massages were great, but that the subject was not an appropriate one for a business meeting.”
Doe’s suit says she began to feel uncomfortable but agreed to a tour of the suite to ease the tension. The suit claims: “Once by the bedroom door, Weinstein, who was substantially larger, assaulted Doe. He overpowered her, pushed her onto the bed, and took his penis out of his pants. After exposing his penis, he told Doe that he had made various ‘famous actresses’ careers and could make Doe’s career as well.’”
The suit says that’s when Weinstein “forced down her skirt and held her down by her wrists. Doe said ‘No,’ either two or three times. Weinstein persisted in his assault.” He then allegedly performed oral sex on her without her consent. She eventually managed to pull free and bolted for the door. As Doe went through the hotel lobby, the suit claims, Schneeweiss met her gaze and then looked down.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Doe told her agent about the alleged assault and that Weinstein left voicemails for Doe insisting she return to the hotel. Her agent was present when Weinstein called again and Doe put the call on speakerphone. He said there had been a misunderstanding and urged her to come back.
The suit claims: “Doe was fearful that her movie career, which had barely begun, could be destroyed if she did not return to the hotel and give Weinstein a chance to apologize. She also wanted to confront Weinstein about his conduct. Doe decided to return to the hotel with her agent and friend.”
Once there, the suit says, Schneeweiss told Doe that Weinstein wanted to speak with the actress in private. She agreed and went upstairs alone.
Her suit says that when she stepped into the doorway, Weinstein “threw his weight onto her and tried to stick his tongue down her throat.” She pushed herself free and reported what happened to her agent and friend.
After the alleged assaults, the actress was given additional scenes in the Miramax movie and returned to the set for two weeks, but she “began to suspect that others on set believed that she had been given additional scenes because she had slept with Weinstein. The work environment was toxic, humiliating and demoralizing for Doe, who was also worried for her safety while on set.”
She claims Weinstein continued to “harass” her now and then but that she never met him again.
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