NEW YORK | New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Sunday he had filed a civil suit against The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein, and Bob Weinstein, alleging the company’s executives and board failed to protect employees from movie producer and former CEO Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein, the 65-year-old co-founder of the Miramax studio, was one of Hollywood’s most influential men before more than 70 women accused him of sexual misconduct, including rape. He denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.
The lawsuit alleges that Weinstein sexually harassed employees and abused women for years. It says that Weinstein Company executives, including his brother and co-CEO Bob, failed to act despite repeatedly being presented with credible evidence of his sexual harassment and misconduct.
The Weinstein Company and a spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein were not immediately available for comment.
Schneiderman is seeking an unspecified amount of restitution and damages, plus penalties, for harm to victims.
Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, Schneiderman said in a statement.
The studio has been in talks to sell itself to a group of investors led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet, but Schneiderman’s lawsuit has put deal negotiations on hold, according to people familiar with the matter.
The New York Times first reported in October on multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. Reuters has not been able to independently confirm the allegations.
Since then, similar allegations have been leveled against many powerful men in business, politics and entertainment, and the #MeToo movement has emerged of victims using social media to share their stories of harassment and abuse.
In Los Angeles, prosecutors are reviewing three accusations of sexual assault against Weinstein, a step toward possible criminal charges for the movie producer, a spokesman for the county District Attorney’s office said on Thursday.
“Three cases were presented to our office on Feb. 1 by the Los Angeles Police Department regarding Mr. Weinstein and are under review,” Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement.