6 women file proposed class-action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, alleging sexual assault cover-ups were racketeering

Business Insider | Dec 6, 2017, 10.46PM IST

harvey weinstein

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Spike

Harvey Weinstein is being sued in federal court.

  • Six women filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday alleging that Harvey Weinstein and his associates' efforts to cover up sexual misconduct allegations amounted to racketeering.
  • The women are seeking class-action status to represent "dozens, if not hundreds" of other victims.
  • The suit alleges that Weinstein and the companies he worked with conspired to cover up sexual assault and harassment.

Six women filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company, Miramax, and others, alleging that their coordinated efforts to cover up his sexual abuse amounted to racketeering.

The suit, filed in a federal court in New York, alleges that Weinstein and the companies he worked with engaged in a conspiracy to sexually harass and assault women and silence his accusers.

The women are seeking class-action status to represent the "dozens, if not hundreds" of women who say Weinstein harassed or assaulted them. The suit alleges that the defendants' actions constitute a violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations act.

The women say that Weinstein and his co-conspirators lured victims to hotel rooms, office casting couches, or Weinstein's homes under the guise of professional development opportunities. It goes on to allege that Weinstein would then pursue unwanted sexual conduct, including flashing, groping, fondling, harassing, battering, false imprisonment, sexual assault, attempted rape, and rape.

The women said in the suit that Weinstein and his allies' behavior harmed his victims' business and career prospects and reputations, and caused severe emotional and physical distress.

Allegations against Weinstein first came to light in several bombshell reports from The New York Times and The New Yorker, which documented multiple women's experiences with Weinstein going back decades. Dozens of women have now stepped forward in news outlets or on social media to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct to varying degrees.

Most of the alleged encounters detail "business meetings" that occurred in Weinstein's hotel suites that turned into scenes of sexual harassment or assault. These accusations stretch back as far as the 1980s and include a variety of film industry figures, including actresses, assistants, and other employees.

After the stories broke, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded.

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