"The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it.”
Six women have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and his former company members.
Weinstein has been at the centre of a criminal investigation since late October, after an extensive outpouring of allegations including rape and sexual assault from women in both America and the UK. He “unequivocally denies” any allegations of non-consensual sex.
Now, Weinstein and his former production company are facing a class action lawsuit from six women, who want to represent “hundreds” of other victims. The plaintiffs were identified as Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt.
The women say that Weinstein’s company and members of its board of directors helped to “perpetuate and conceal Weinstein’s widespread sexual harassment and assault”.
Defendants named in the suit are James Dolan, owner of New York Nicks and Marc Lasry, the co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Both are former members of Weinstein’s board of directors.
The suit alleges that Dolan “knew of Weinstein’s pattern and practice of predatory sexual conduct toward women from his personal relationship with Weinstein and his position as a director.”
“Harvey Weinstein is a predator,” reads a joint statement. “Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it.”
“How could so many women have been violated? How could so many people have covered up for him? How could so many people have done nothing to help? Money.”
The statement continues: “One thing is clear: to create a permanent change in the culture, we need to send a message to the powerful and wealthy individuals, companies and industries that fêted their Harvey Weinsteins, instead of protecting the victims.
“These individuals and companies chose to put ad revenue and movie sales, profits and ledgers before compassion and integrity. If money is the language they speak, then so be it. Let them learn that it is costlier to cover up assault, harassment, rape and violence. Let them learn the hard way: wallet first.
“If this is happening in Hollywood, it is happening at the hospital, the supermarket, the accountant’s office, the mechanic’s garage, the school… everywhere.”
Read the full statement here.