A lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General’s office interrupted a sale of The Weinstein Company, embroiling the movie studio in a legal battle over former executive Harvey Weinstein’s years of sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct.
AG Eric Schneiderman announced Sunday, Feb. 11, that he had filed a lawsuit against the company, according to Business Insider. Schneiderman’s lawsuit accuses Harvey Weinstein of violating state and city laws against employee harassment and sexual assault.
The lawsuit also accuses board members of failing to take adequate action to prevent Weinstein’s assaults. Schneiderman alleges that board members, as well as Harvey Weinstein’s brother Robert, who co-founded the company, enabled Weinstein’s actions, according to the New York Times.
Schneiderman claimed the company was repeatedly presented with information showing that Weinstein was serially harassing and assaulting women, using corporate influence and connections to aid in and conceal his behavior.
He also alleged that the company routinely used funds inappropriately from 2005 to Oct. 2017, when Harvey Weinstein was ousted from the company following a New York Times investigative story revealing he serially assaulted women for decades as an executive producer.
The lawsuit comes at the end of a four-month investigation led by the New York AG office into allegations against The Weinstein Company following the New York Times story.
It halted the $500 million sale of the service provider company to an investor group, which was supposed to close Feb. 11. Schneiderman said he filed it out of concerns that such a sale would prevent victims of Weinstein’s abuse from receiving appropriate compensation, according to BBC News.
The sale would have required the company to remove Robert Weinstein and would not have paid either Robert or Harvey for the acquisition, according to the New York Times. However, Schneiderman’s lawsuit expressed concern that The Weinstein Company had a corporate culture which silenced victims and fellow employees reporting Weinstein’s abuse, creating a “toxic environment for women” employed by the company.
More than 60 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct to various degrees since the New York Times article was published in October 2017. No charges have been filed against Weinstein for sexual harassment, according to BBC News.