Harvey Weinstein sues former company over emails, records

Dozens of women have accused the Hollywood producer of sexual harassment

Harvey Weinstein. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP file)

Disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein sued his former company on Thursday, seeking access to emails, his personnel file and other records he contends may exonerate him from multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Weinstein’s lawsuit filed Thursday in Delaware seeks access to the records, which Weinstein’s lawyers argue are key to the Oscar-winner’s defence from the avalanche of harassment claims made against him since an Oct. 5 report by The New York Times. Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Co. three days later. His lawsuit makes clear that if he is able to obtain the records, he may use them to pursue a wrongful termination case or other legal actions against the company.

READ: Hollywood reacts to Weinstein harassment claims

The lawsuit notes the numerous legal troubles facing Weinstein and his former company, including criminal investigations, a civil lawsuit that alleges The Weinstein Co. knew of decades of harassment allegations lodged against the producer and a civil rights investigation launched by the New York attorney general.

“Mr. Weinstein believes that his email account — which is the primary, if not only, account he used during the term of his employment by the company — will contain information exonerating him, and therefore the company, from claims that may be asserted against him or the company. Further, Mr. Weinstein is in a unique position to offer insight, and further explain and contextualize his emails.”

Weinstein is asking a judge to expedite a ruling on his case.

A representative for The Weinstein Co. did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.

The lawsuit came hours after actress Ashley Judd described on-camera Weinstein’s sexual advances toward her, which she said she escaped by making a deal.

She was a rising young actress two decades ago who had arrived at the hotel suite of this powerful film mogul for what she thought would be a business meeting.

READ: #MeToo: Women tell stories of sexual assault and harassment on social media

It wasn’t, she said in her first on-camera recounting of the incident, which aired Thursday on “Good Morning America.” Judd’s account of the incident three weeks ago in The New York Times was a key factor in Weinstein’s downfall, and opened the door to an avalanche of harassment allegations against Weinstein and others and a broader cultural discussion of how women are treated in the workplace and beyond.

Writer and director James Toback, an Oscar-nominee for his “Bugsy” screenplay, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 200 women since a Los Angeles Times article broke the stories of 38 women Sunday. On Thursday, actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams told Vanity Fair about encounters with Toback early in their careers. Blair alleges that Toback humped her leg and implied that he would have her killed if she told anyone.

NBC suspended Mark Halperin on Thursday after CNN reported on the claims of five women who said the political journalist harassed them while he was an ABC News executive. Halperin, who co-authored the bestseller “Game Change,” apologized Wednesday for what he called inappropriate behaviour. And former Fox News host and bestselling author Bill O’Reilly, who was forced out of the network in April after sexual harassment allegations, saw his literary agency cut ties with him.

READ: Canadian writers, actors join Twitter boycott

Fallout continues to Weinstein and the film production company he co-founded. The Lexus luxury vehicle brand said Thursday it was ending its partnership with The Weinstein Co., which included sponsorship and product placement in company’s “Project Runway” television show.

Weinstein has been fired from the company he co-founded with his brother and is now facing criminal investigations in London, New York and Los Angeles.

ABC is spreading its interview with Judd throughout its programming Thursday, with segments expected to air during its nightly newscast and its “Nightline” late-night show.

In the “GMA” interview, Judd said the business meeting in Weinstein’s hotel room turned into a negotiation not about work, but about things the producer wanted the actress to do to him.

Weinstein first offered to give her a massage, then, when she demurred, asked her to give him one, she said.

“I fought with this volley of no’s,” she said.

Then she made a “deal.” She said she agreed to submit to him, but only “when I win an Oscar in one of your movies — OK?”

“When you get NOMINATED,” Weinstein counter-offered.

“And I said, ‘No. When I WIN an Oscar.’ And then I just fled.”

Judd said she remains of two minds about how she handled the shocking situation.

“Am I proud of that? . The part that shames myself says, ‘No.’ The part of me that understands the way shame works says, ‘That was absolutely brilliant. Good job, kid, you got out of there. Well done!’”

Judd said a couple of years after the hotel encounter she was seated across from Weinstein at a dinner. She said he brought up “that little agreement we made,” and claimed he was “looking around for the material.”

Then he looked at her and said, “You know, Ashley, I’m going to let you out of that little agreement that we made.”

Judd said by then “I had come into my own, I had come into my power, I had found my voice. And I said, ‘You do that, Harvey. You DO that.’

“And he has spat my name at me ever since.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Climate, reconciliation and industry top all candidates agenda in Terrace

Debate was the candidate’s last opportunity to address voters in a public forum

New curator starts at Terrace’s Heritage Park Museum

Anna Glass stepped into her new role early October

South Hazelton pellet plant on track for 2021 opening

Company predicts more nearly 100 direct and indirect local jobs will be created

City of Terrace welcomes new economic development manager

Deklan Corstanje makes the switch to city hall from RDKS

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read