“She knew that if she reported him, Weinstein would destroy her life.”
That line, from a new class action lawsuit filed in federal court Friday against Harvey Weinstein and the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” that enabled Weinstein’s alleged prolific career as a sexual predator, comes up at the conclusion of a harrowing description of plaintiff Caitlin Dulany’s false imprisonment and sexual assault at the hands of the Miramax producer.
An aspiring actress in independent film, Dulany had a chance run-in with Weinstein in New York in 1996 — “she felt very lucky” to have exchanged contact information with such a major figure in the entertainment industry — and saw Weinstein as a professional mentor for a year before his attention toward her turned inappropriate, manipulative, and finally violent.
The beats of Dulany’s experience will sound familiar to anyone who has read any of the accounts from the scores of women who allege Weinstein sexually coerced or assaulted them. So will the narratives of Larissa Gomes and Melissa Thompson, the two other named plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit filed Friday afternoon in the Southern District of New York.
The details, as ever, are chilling: That during an attempted assault of Gomes in a hotel room, “Weinstein seemed smug, as if he was amused by Gomes’s fear and anxiety”; that Weinstein groped Thompson throughout a business pitch she was trying to make and later, as he began raping her in his hotel room:
“While Weinstein ran his hand up Thompson’s bare leg, she tried to back away from him and declared in a raised voice that she did not think her boyfriend would appreciate what he was doing. While maintaining a hold on her and with his face below her waist, Weinstein responded in a resolute tone: ‘Fuck him.'”
And the lawsuit itself, right down to the term of art “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise,” should also sound familiar: It’s virtually identical to the class action lawsuit filed against Weinstein, The Weinstein Company, and Miramax, LLC last November in Los Angeles. Both aim to represent all the women in the United States who claim they met with Weinstein in person to “audition for or to discuss involvement in a project to be produced or distributed by” Weinstein’s company, only to be victimized by Weinstein. (That is, all the women for whom the statute of limitations to pursue criminal action against Weinstein have run out.)
One change of note in the second lawsuit is a new defendant: The Walt Disney Company, which purchased Miramax in 1993 is named “for the negligent supervision or retention of an unfit officer, director, and/or employee.” And the first suit has an anonymous woman as its plaintiff, Jane Doe No. 1.
Less than two weeks ago, Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, and sexual misconduct. He was released on $1 million bail, which he paid in cash. Weinstein denies all allegations of rape and sexual assault and insists all the sexual contact he had with these women was consensual.