At the height of his career, Harvey Weinstein had amassed an estimated $300 million fortune. But even before his trial began in Manhattan last December, the mogul had reportedly shelled out more than $100 million on lawyers, plus agreed to an additional $25 million to pay off dozens of his accusers. He also faces a slew of criminal charges in Los Angeles. Even if he manages to evade prison time, the fallen indie film titan could be hit by a cascade of federal civil suits that would leave him in financial ruin.
One of those suits, filed by actress Ashley Judd, details a “meeting” between her and Weinstein: “Cornered in the locked hotel room and wanting to escape without angering the man who could end her budding career, Ms. Judd engaged in a mock bargain with Weinstein, suggesting that she would consider letting him touch her only if she won an Academy Award in one of his films. Weinstein responded: ‘When you get nominated.’ Ms. Judd said ‘No, when I win,’ and then she fled the scene.”
Judd claims that following their awkward encounter, Weinstein told the producers of The Lord of the Rings franchise that she was “a nightmare” to work with. She wasn’t hired and says Weinstein irrevocably harmed her career. In January, a judge dismissed the sexual harassment claim, but said Judd could proceed with the suit regarding the destruction of her career.
Actress Rose McGowan’s 11-count civil suit alleges that after Weinstein raped her during the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, he paid her off with the expectation that she would “go away and keep her mouth shut.” When she didn’t, McGowan claims, Weinstein urged his friends in Hollywood to shut down her career.
Emma Loman, a German actress, says the producer invited her to the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and then raped her in his hotel suite, at one point ripping off the condom during the alleged assault. British actress Kadian Noble says she traveled from England to France, lured by Weinstein to the Cannes festival in 2014 with the promise of acting work, but was sexually assaulted instead.
A former Weinstein employee named Alexandra Canosa alleges her boss raped her repeatedly while she worked as a producer for his company. Canosa, who now works for Netflix, claims that he first assaulted her in 2010 at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, and then in Los Angeles, Malaysia, and Budapest.
Not all of the litigants are accusing Weinstein of sexual crimes. Lesia Anson, the widow of Amityville Horror novelist Jay Anson, claims the mogul cheated her out of money. In a suit filed in 2017, she says the Weinstein Company “illegally” released a sequel to a cult classic without optioning her husband’s book. “Evidently,” her lawyers argued, “Harvey and Bob Weinstein believe they are perched above the law.”
Not surprisingly, Harvey Weinstein’s conglomeration of insurance companies is arguing to a federal judge that their policies shouldn’t be forced to cover “a pattern of intentional, egregious sexual predatory behavior.”
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