On the morning Time magazine announced the #MeToo “silence breakers” are its Person of the Year, a group of six women is taking legal action against Harvey Weinstein, the man whose exploits began the movement.
Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt are suing both Harvey and Bob Weinstein, The Weinstein Co., Miramax and several other individuals.
The women allege that they, and hundreds of others like them, were subjected to unwanted sexual conduct and lived in fear of being blacklisted by Weinstein and his cohorts. They’re suing for battery, assault, negligent supervision and retention, both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and are pursuing a RICO claim — arguing that ” the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” is essentially organized crime.
“One thing is clear: to create a permanent change in the culture, we need to send a message to the powerful and wealthy individuals, companies and industries that feted their Harvey Weinsteins, instead of protecting the victims,” says a joint statement released by the women. “These individuals and companies chose to put ad revenue and movie sales, profits and ledgers before compassion and integrity. If money is the language they speak, then so be it. Let them learn that it is costlier to cover up assault, harassment, rape and violence. Let them learn the hard way: wallet first.” (Read it in full here.)
The complaint was filed Wednesday by Steve Berman, the attorney who filed a similar class action against the embattled mogul and his company in November. The firm has also issued a call to any women who have experience harassment, asking them to reach out to learn their potential legal rights.
Also on Wednesday, representatives for Weinstein’s former assistant Sandeep Rehal announced she will be filing a lawsuit in New York federal court next week alleging she was “egregiously sexually harassed” and retaliated against by the producer.