11:46am PT by Ashley Cullins
Harvey Weinstein's Ex-Assistant Sues for Harassment, Says He Regularly Dictated Emails Naked
Harvey Weinstein's former personal assistant says she was forced to work in a "pervasive and severe sexually hostile" environment for the more than two years she was employed by The Weinstein Co., according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in New York federal court.
Sandeep Rehal is suing Harvey and Bob Weinstein and TWC for discrimination and harassment, and has a claim against the Weinstein brothers and human resources exec Frank Gil for aiding and abetting that conduct. She claims that by February 2015 she hit an emotional breaking point and had no choice but to quit.
Rehal was 26 years old when she began working at TWC in February 2013, according to the complaint, and says she quickly learned there were no boundaries between Weinstein's work and personal lives.
"Much of Ms. Rehal’s work as an employee of TWC involved catering to Harvey Weinstein’s sexual appetites and activities, and catering to his demeaning and often abusive family members," states the filing. "Ms. Rehal was required to be involved in and aware of the preparations for, and clean up after, Harvey Weinstein’s extremely prolific sexual encounters."
That involvement, Rehal claims, included keeping a list of Weinstein's contacts that included a special asterisk to denote which were his "girls," setting up an apartment near the office that he could use for sexual liaisons, buying lingerie and managing the stock of his erectile dysfunction injections.
"Every time Harvey Weinstein went to meet a woman at a hotel, in the office, or elsewhere, which occurred on average at least three times a week when he was in New York, Ms. Rehal was required as part of her job to provide Harvey Weinstein with a shot, which she placed in his jacket pocket or in a brown paper bag," states the complaint. "Another 'task' Ms. Rehal was forced to do to aid Harvey Weinstein’s sexual encounters was to clean up the semen on the couch in Harvey Weinstein’s office. This happened on a regular basis, three or so times a week when Harvey Weinstein was in New York."
Rehal also claims she regularly had to work with Weinstein while he was naked, and specifically mentions taking dictation of emails from him while he was in the nude on an almost weekly basis. She also claims Weinstein routinely made her ride in the back of his chauffeured Lexus SUV and groped her, and made sexist comments to her in front of other TWC employees.
"Harvey Weinstein used sexist and sexual language to refer to Ms. Rehal, regularly referring to her as 'c—' or 'pussy,'" states the filing. "On numerous occasions he said, 'What’s wrong Sandeep, is the tampon up too far today?'"
The ex-assistant says she wasn't the only person who experienced such behavior, and claims it was "common knowledge" in the office and to TWC management including Bob Weinstein and Gil.
“To say Weinstein’s behavior was harmful, tawdry, demeaning and offensive is an understatement,” Rehal's attorney Genie Harrison said Thursday in a statement. “Weinstein’s abuse of power has been well documented, allowing Sandeep finally to reveal the details of her employment, which before now might have seemed too incredibly horrifying to believe. Although Sandeep’s employers gave little thought to her physical and emotional welfare, we have confidence that the jury will deliver justice and restore her dignity.”
A spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein sent The Hollywood Reporter this statement in response to the suit: “Mr. Weinstein categorically denies these claims and his lawyers will respond in the appropriate legal forum with evidence proving they are untrue. “
TWC did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted below.
This marks the latest in a string of lawsuits filed against Weinstein and his former company since a series of explosive reports last fall began detailing decades of alleged abuse and harassment.
Jan. 25, 1:08 p.m. Updated with a comment from Harvey Weinstein's rep.