NY attorney general sues alleging “years-long gender based hostile work environment” at Weinstein Company

Photo by Gotham/GC Images(NEW YORK) — The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, alleging a “years-long gender based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful end.”

The suit was filed Sunday in New York State Supreme Court, and a copy of the complain was published by The Hollywood Reporter.  The suit also names Harvey Weinstein’s brother and company co-founder Bob Weinstein, claiming that he and the company failed to take action when they were “repeatedly presented with credible evidence” of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.

The 38-page filing details a range of allegations against Weinstein, including subjecting female employees and other women to “unwelcome and inappropriate physical contact.”  The suit also alleges a “persistent stream of threats and verbal abuse, much of which was sexual or gendered in nature”; and threats of physical harm or harm to the careers of female employees.

The suit seeks civil penalties of up to $250,000 for each violation of law to be paid to New York State, as well as restitution and damages to be paid to victims.  The suit also seeks to have women who have signed non-disclosure agreements to be freed from those agreements.

In a statement to ABC News, Ben Brafman, attorney for Harvey Weinstein, suggested his client is being made a “scapegoat.”

“We believe that a fair investigation by Mr. Schneiderman will demonstrate that many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are without merit,” the statement said. “While Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality, and at the end of the inquiry it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader and there was zero discrimination at either Miramax or TWC. If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr. Weinstein will embrace the investigation. If the purpose however is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself.”

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