12:09pm PT by Ashley Cullins
N.Y. Attorney General Lambasts Weinstein Co.'s "Despicable" Conduct
The day after filing an expansive human rights lawsuit against The Weinstein Co., New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman elaborated on his office’s four-month investigation into the company, which he said uncovered “a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment, intimidation, discrimination and abuse.”
The AG emphasized that the crux of the investigation focused on TWC as a whole, not just disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein.
"We have never seen anything as despicable as what we've seen here," Schneiderman said during a Monday press conference.
In the complaint filed Sunday in New York state court, Schneiderman claims Weinstein engaged in a litany of “vicious and exploitative” behavior, including threatening to kill employees, directing women to facilitate his sexual conquests and engaging in quid pro quo sexual harassment — and alleges that the company enabled the conduct.
“The board and management knew all of this,” Schneiderman said. “TWC entered into numerous settlements with non-disclosure agreements as a corporate entity itself. So the liability extends beyond the individual perpetrator.”
Schneiderman said it is clear that the company’s management was complicit, failed to protect its employees and repeatedly broke the law.
“It was flagrant,” he said. “It was flamboyant. They knew how pervasive it was, and, not only did they fail to stop it, they enabled it and covered it up.”
Specifically, the AG called out COO David Glasser and the TWC board, saying that they had legal duties to stop the misconduct.
“Management, including the COO and the human resources staff, never launched a single formal investigation into any of the complaints of discrimination, harassment or abuse,” said Schneiderman. “And there were many, many complaints.”
Schneiderman said the conduct by company leadership was unacceptable, and any sale of assets must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected moving forward and any employees that perpetuated or enabled Weinstein’s alleged conduct will not be rewarded.
The lawsuit was filed as negotiations for a sale of TWC to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet were nearing completion. Schneiderman said that proposed deal would have rewarded top executives, kept victims “muzzled” by NDAs and didn’t provide for a victims’ compensation fund. Schneiderman's suit doesn't ask for a temporary restraining order and he said he doesn't intend to stop the sale of any assets, but expects these issues to be addressed before any deal is finalized.
The full Monday press conference is below.