New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced via Twitter on Sunday evening that his office filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, posting excerpts of a blistering suit that alleges former CEO and serial abuser Harvey Weinstein led “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends.”
Though the suit details behaviors beginning in 2005 and spanning nearly a decade and a half, Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by at least 84 women in accounts that date back as far as the 1980s.
“Any sale of the company must ensure victims are adequately compensated, employees are protected, and that enablers of sexual misconduct will not be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman wrote, adding that Weinstein’s company has been under investigation for months. “For 4 months, my office has been investigating the Weinstein Companies—revealing new and egregious examples of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein, and repeated violations of NY law by company officials.”
Excerpts from the suit that detail specific allegations of harassment perpetrated by Weinstein corroborate the accounts of women who have publicly spoken out against him. In one instance, the suit alleges that Weinstein threatened to kill employees who challenged him; in another, it notes that Weinstein also targeted female employees by asking them to massage him in his hotel room.
Schneiderman’s plan to sue the company has also emperiled its potential sale to Maria Contreras-Sweet, the a former Small Business Association administrator who planned on purchasing the company for $500 million.
On Sunday, the New York Post reported that Contreras-Sweet pulled her offer after Schneiderman “[insisted] on inserting a monitor on the board of the new company,” and reportedly became “infuriated” by his involvement in negotiating the addition of the board monitor.