In the latest development in the ongoing scandal relating to Harvey Weinstein, the New York Attorney General’s office has charges against the disgraced movie mogul, his brother Robert, and the company that the two men founded, according to E! Online. Long considered to be one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, the recent developments represent further legal trouble for Weinstein and the media empire he helped create.
The charges claim Harvey Weinstein, via his company, committed “extensive violations” of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business law legislation. The suit says that Weinstein used a group of female employees to help arrange his sexual liasons, including attending events with Weinstein, establish contact with potential victims via phone and text message, and maintaining open availability on Weinstein’s calendar for continued involvement with individuals. It also details a sexualised working environment in which Weinstein’s pursuit of sexual conquests became a significant part of the job description of numerous (female) employees. The allegations against Weinstein’s company are the latest in a string of events that has captivated Hollywood and provided momentum to the #MeToo movement across the country.
Weinstein has been accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape by numerous victims, though he denies the allegations of non-consensual sex with victims. The events and new lawsuit represent a stunning fall from grace for one of Hollywood’s most powerful and influential power brokers. It also puts at considerable risk the sale of Weinstein’s company, which was rumoured to total close to $500 million, which had been expected to be completed immediately before the charges were brought by the Attorney General’s office. Besides delaying the sale until the charges and potential liability for the company are settled, the move is an effort to ensure “victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched.” What this looks like will be determined in the coming weeks, but it is unlikely to be positive for Weinstein, his brother, or their once-powerful company.