Six women filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday, claiming that the movie mogul’s actions to cover up assaults amounted to civil racketeering.
The lawsuit was filed at a federal court in New York seeking to represent a class of “dozens, if not hundreds” of women who say they were assaulted by Weinstein.
The lawsuit claims that a coalition of companies and people became part of the growing “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” and that they worked with Weinstein to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.
“The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had many participants, grew over time as the obfuscation of Weinstein’s conduct became more difficult to conceal,” the suit said.
A lawyer for Weinstein declined comment.
According to the lawsuit, actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein’s home, office meetings or auditions under the pretense that they were to discuss a project.
Plaintiffs included the scriptwriter and actress Louisette Geiss and the actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission. All of the women have told their stories publicly.
At least 75 women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein. Weinstein’s representatives have denied all accusations of non-consensual sex, but no charges have been filed.
Weinstein, 65, is being investigated by police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London
Weinstein was ousted from the movie company he founded following a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that began with a bombshell New York Times article in early October. Since then, numerous prominent men in entertainment, business and politics and the media have been hit with allegations of improper behavior with women.