NEW YORK, Nov 2 — Harvey Weinstein isn’t willing to walk away from his company without a fight.
The beleaguered Hollywood producer, who is facing a wave of sexual-assault claims stretching back to the 1970s, is contesting his ouster from The Weinstein Co in an arbitration case, according to court filings.
Harvey Weinstein sued the film studio for records that he says would help defend him against complaints from women, some of whom accuse him of rape. The documents would also help the company defend itself against potential liability, he claims.
The Weinstein Co, which the movie producer co-owns with his brother, said in a filing Tuesday that Harvey Weinstein’s demand for fast-track access to the documents and emails is nothing more than a ploy to help his arbitration claims. Weinstein was ousted as chief executive last month after a growing number of actresses accused him of various sex crimes.
“He should not be allowed to rush this court into blessing an end-run around the discovery rules governing the arbitration of his wrongful termination claims,” Weinstein Co’s lawyers said. “That is particularly true where Weinstein’s goals are directly adverse to the company and where the company is complying with multiple ongoing investigations.”
Sallie Hofmeister, a spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein, declined to comment on the studio’s filing.
Harvey Weinstein, 65, was fired after the New York Times and the New Yorker published accounts in which several women accused him of sexual harassment and rape. He has denied any non-consensual sexual activity.
A string of actresses has come forward since, accusing the producer of sexually harassing them in exchange for helping their careers. Actress Dominique Huett claimed Harvey Weinstein masturbated in front of her and performed oral sex on her in 2010. She sued Weinstein Co for US$5 million (RM21.2 million) on October 24, claiming it “condoned and enabled” Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour.
His lawyers said they want to review a corporate email account and other records to determine whether there is “any exculpatory information” that would help the company — and also to investigate whether Harvey Weinstein was wrongfully fired or whether company insiders leaked contents of his personnel file.
The documents might also help his brother, Robert Weinstein, counteract sexual harassment complaints, Harvey Weinstein claimed.
A producer who worked on the Weinstein Co television drama The Mist accused Robert Weinstein of sexual harassment, Variety reported this month. Robert Weinstein’s lawyer, Bert Fields, told Variety the producer’s claims are “false and misleading” and that he has the “emails to prove it.”
The studio noted that contrary to Harvey Weinstein’s argument that he could help the company clear itself of any liability, neither the studio nor Robert Weinstein has been legitimately accused of wrongdoing.
“To be clear, not a single woman has accused Robert Weinstein of sexual assault or rape —let alone of decades of predatory sexual behaviour,” the studio’s lawyers said Tuesday in response to Weinstein’s lawsuit. “Weinstein’s suggestion that similar allegations have been levied against both men are simply false and reveals the true, personal motivation behind” the document request, according to the court filing.
The case is Weinstein v. Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, 2017-0765, Delaware Court of Chancery. — Bloomberg