Nearly a year after first taking the much-accused Harvey Weinstein to court, Paz de la Huerta has today added the Walt Disney Company, its former CEO Michael Eisner and current CEO Bob Iger plus Bob Weinstein and Miramax to a revised version multi-claim version of the complaint – and Disney wants out ASAP.
“Defendant Robert A. Iger has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of
The Walt Disney Company from 2000 to present and has served as Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to present,” says the six-claim filing Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here). “Iger made a series of decisions that allowed a range of actions by Harvey Weinstein that unacceptably harmed certain employees of Miramax,” the complaint adds of the Disney boss plus his corporate predecessor Eisner.
It should be pointed out that Iger has not has “served as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Walt Disney Company from 2000 to present.” Iger gave up that gig when he got the big job in 2005 — an odd error in the dense complaint.
“Following the departure of Harvey Weinstein and Robert Weinstein from their positions as executives of Miramax in 2005, Iger made no effort to identify or remediate harms by Harvey Weinstein to current or former employees of Disney-Miramax,” de la Huerta’s attorneys at Tensor Law concluded, slapping assault, sexual battery, emotional distress, negligent supervision and violation of federal sex trafficking statutes against the entertainment giant.
Iger and Eisner also were labeled individually with intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision in a case that is looking at damages in the $60 million range for the trauma and the “substantial collapse” of de la Huerta’s career via Weinstein.
There’s a lot of very similar language to the November 2018 assault complaint that de la Huerta filed in LASC against Weinstein and the Four Seasons Hotel owners, then saw moved to federal court and then back to state court. The Boardwalk Empire alum details a long and often horrible entanglement with Weinstein, going back to even before 1999’s The Cider House Rules, in which she was cast. Basically, this revised suit says that Disney owned the Weinsteins’ Miramax starting in 1993 and is responsible for much that followed between Harvey Weinstein and de la Huerta in “the bringing together of these two individuals in the course of business of Miramax.”
Additionally, “both Harvey Weinstein and Paz De La Huerta were W-2 employees of both Disney and Miramax at the time of the assault in 2010,” adds the 47-page new complaint, which seeks a jury trial. “This is because both continued to receive residuals on W-2’s from both Miramax and Disney.”
The new suit is one that unsurprisingly Disney says it and its executives, past and present, should not be no part of.
“The Weinsteins operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy,” a Disney spokesperson told Deadline Tuesday of the supposed arm’s length distance between the parent company and their 17-year ownership of the Weinstein brothers’ Miramax, with and without the siblings at the helm. “There is absolutely no legal basis for claims against the company and we will defend against them vigorously.”
De la Huerta’s main lawyer Aaron Filler says Disney and its top brass absolutely are legally bound to what allegedly happened to the actress at the hands of the disgraced producer, which is detailed at length in the filing as it was in the previous complaint.
“The concept of ‘respondeat superior‘ is to assure that – for instance, a person hit by a Disney truck is not able only to sue the truck driver, if there is a corporate background, then the victim should not be compensated from the corporation’s insurance and not from the lower-level employee’s pockets alone,” Filler argued to Deadline this afternoon.
“Here, the The Weinstein Company is bankrupt and Harvey Weinstein is spending what is left of his funds in millions of expenditure for his attorneys,” the lawyer noted of the rape case that could see Weinstein behind bars for life if found guilty. “For the most part, Disney and Miramax have escaped the need to take any responsibility – except for UK and Canada cases that have no statute of limitations. The settlement has been on hold for nearly ten months due to supposed endless disputes between directors and their insurers. We believe that under the circumstances of this matter, respondeat superior will apply.”
First arrested in late May 2018 in the NYC-set criminal case, Weinstein faced two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, the 67-year-old Oscar-winning producer is out on $1 million bail after entering a not guilty plea on July 9 last year. That was months after the New York Times exposé of October 2017 was published and put the producer’s alleged decades-long vile behavior in the spotlight he had bullied and paid off to avoid.
Yesterday, Weinstein entered a not guilty plea Monday morning to a new indictment in the case from the Manhattan D.A. containing charges of sexual assault from 2006 and 2013.
With The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra now likely to testify in the trial, the start of the estimated five-week long process has been pushed from next month to early 2020.
Accused by Ashley Judd in a now temporarily halted case and failing to get a sex trafficking class action tossed out, Weinstein is also facing allegations from more than 60 women that he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them. In that vein, Weinstein is under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as probes by the Manhattan D.A.’s office, the NYPD, the LAPD and more globally.
Additionally, as Filler mentioned, a so-called $44 million “global settlement” announced in May over the claims of dozens of women against Weinstein looks to be all smoke and no fire now after various accusers cried foul over the hefty sums being paid out to lawyers and other reps for the now defunct board of the bankrupt The Weinstein Company.
“The beneficial public policy effect of all of this is to make sure that any Board of Directors will supervise their CEO and to make sure that providers of Directors and Officer’s insurance will pressure Directors to monitor the CEO,” Filler states of the larger implications of de la Huerta’s case – as it stands right now
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