EXCLUSIVE: The lead attorney in a class action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein today voiced concern over allegations of fraud and racism leveled against the Dallas-based private equity firm poised to acquire The Weinstein Company.
Producer Marvin Peart hit Lantern Capital with a $110 million lawsuit Monday, claiming he was excluded from the deal after bringing Lantern to the negotiating table. “Institutional racism” is being cited as part of the reason for Peart, who is African American, being dumped by Lantern.
Cris Armenta, the national class-action counsel for the six women who filed a suit last December against Weinstein, on behalf of all women who found themselves on the disgraced movie producer’s “casting couch,” issued a statement to Deadline raising concerns about the allegations in the Lantern suit.
“We wish this deal would go to close for the benefit of all the unsecured creditors. However, I have always been suspicious about the debtors’ hostility to making justice happen. Our clients only care about justice and their voices.
In Georgia this year, there was a verdict rendered for a woman who was raped while people should have known better. The $1 billion verdict was the single largest rape verdict in the history. That should be a barometer for Harvey Weinstein’s misdeeds and for all the people who enabled him.
The victims will not stand down and their voices will be heard.
The recent allegation of racism only calls more into question the misogyny that has been TWC’s legacy. We stand together: Race, Gender, LGBTQ. We are one.”
The U.S. bankruptcy court approved the sale of The Weinstein Co.’s assets to Lantern Capital in May. As the stalking horse in the bankruptcy action and the favorite to take over the company from the beginning, pledging to run a business “with the utmost respect for all employees and promote a diverse and transparent environment.”
Peart’s 23-page civil suit, in which claimed he had been gradually frozen out of the deal, seeks payment for orchestrating a sale that has not yet closed. And it landed at a critical time for TWC.
The studio warned in bankruptcy court filings last week that its pending sale to Lantern could collapse. The Weinstein Co. said it has been arguing with the firm over who would pay potentially tens of millions of dollars owed to actors and others involved in various film and TV projects.
A Lantern spokesperson said the company does not comment on litigation, but issued the following statement:
“In response to the question, ‘Was Marvin Peart excluded from any meetings?’ To the extent that he was, the (Weinstein) company and its advisors requested that Lantern exclude Marvin Peart from certain meetings due to his long-term personal and business relationship with David Glasser.”
The Weinstein Co. board fired Glasser, the company’s former president and chief operating officer, in February.