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Disney, its CEO Bob Iger and its ex-chairman Michael Eisner are being brought into Paz de la Huerta’s sexual assault lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein.
The actress in November sued Weinstein for sexual battery, and also targeted The Weinstein Co. and the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills for their alleged roles in the situation. De la Huerta says she met the mogul in 1999 when she was a 14-year-old actress working on the film The Cider House Rules, and she alleges that more than a decade later Weinstein raped her. Since the suit was filed, it was moved to federal court and remanded back to Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Now, De la Huerta is expanding the list of people who she says are responsible for Weinstein’s alleged assaults.
In a complaint submitted Tuesday, de la Huerta contends Eisner and Iger “made a series of decisions that allowed a range of actions by Harvey Weinstein that unacceptably harmed certain employees of Miramax,” which Disney owned at the time.
“It is clear that the risk of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein is inherent in the working environment fostered at Miramax,” writes attorney Aaron Filler. “De La Huerta and her family were aware of and anxious about these risks at the time of the undertaking to allow Paz de La Huerta to participate in the making of the Cider House Rules film. … The motivating emotions of Harvey Weinstein were fairly attributable to the work conditions of his controlling the work and hiring of young female actresses while imbuing all aspects of the work with a sense of likelihood or expectability of intimate sexual contact.”
The actress alleges that Disney, as then-owner of Miramax, is responsible because the assault arose from “the bringing together of these two individuals [de la Huerta and Weinstein] in the course of business of Miramax.”
De La Huerta’s claims against Iger and Eisner, as well as former Miramax chairman Bob Weinstein, are negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Her claims against Disney are negligent supervision and violation of federal sex trafficking statutes.
Disney sent The Hollywood Reporter this brief statement in response to the complaint: “The Weinsteins operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy. There is absolutely no legal basis for claims against the company and we will defend against them vigorously.”
Aug. 27, 4:15 p.m. Updated with a response from Disney.
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