Harvey Weinstein is used to rolling in a mountain of money. Now, he’s rolling in a mountain of litigation. Early this morning, six women filed a class-action lawsuit a New York federal court. The suit names the predator Weinstein as well as all his former companies, and claims that the Hollywood system that Weinstein ran was similar to an organized crime syndicate.
We knew it was just a matter of time. The six women issued this plaintiff statement: “Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob (Weinstein, his brother) knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.” The six plaintiffs are: Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt.
These brave ladies continued their statement by saying: “We have watched with horror, amazement, pride and gratitude in the last two months as women (and men) the world over have come forward and named their abusers. We stand with all those brave people who have had the courage and temerity to shine a spotlight into the darkness. Predators thrive in the shadows. It is only by keeping their secrets for them that we allow them to get away with it.”
The New York firm of Hagens Berman and Armenta is handling the suit. Although there are only six women as plaintiffs now, the firm says they will proceed with adding literally hundreds of other Weinstein victims to the class action.
Some of those women can be seen on the cover of Time Magazine’s 2017 person of the year issue, which just hit newsstands. This year, time named a group of women called The Silence Breakers as their Group Of The Year. Actress Rose McGowan is one of the women Time honored on the cover.
McGowan was one of the first to speak out about Weinstein, who she said raped her in a hotel room when she was a young actor. Weinstein naturally said McGowan consented to the sex, but New Yorker magazine reported that Weinstein actually hired spies who had formerly worked for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency to make sure McGowan didn’t ever speak about the incident.
McGowan helped open the floodgates; after she spoke, dozens of other women came forward. McGowan says Weinstein “f—ed with the wrong person” when he decided to mess with her. She is glad to see all the dirt come out and talk about the larger battle of women’s rights in Hollywood and the workplace in general.
McGowen says women have permission to be angry about what Weinstein is doing, what Conyers has done, what Franken has done, and really what all of these dirtbags have done. McGowen says that scum like Weinstein take away women’s ability to be angry because of the culture of silence he and his goons imposed.
McGowan says its time for everyone to know what goes on in Hollywood and she doesn’t give a flying flip whether she makes people uncomfortable talking about it. She’s interested in stopping rape culture, and says it should make people uncomfortable.
The days of saying, “Oh, it’s just how Hollywood works” are over. McGowan is not a plaintiff but she is proud of the six women who stepped forward.
The lawsuit literally names everyone that Weinstein was in business with who perpetuated his predatorial behavior: “Weinstein’s widespread sexual misconduct did not occur without the help of others. Rather, over time, Weinstein enlisted the aid of other firms and individuals to facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct. This coalition of firms and individuals became part of the growing ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise,’ a RICO enterprise.”
The RICO count is where the ties to organized crime come in. RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act that imposes criminal penalties for deeds performed as part of a criminal organization. It focuses specifically on racketeering, meaning crimes that Weinstein ordered others to do to close loopholes.
Indeed, the class action lawsuit filed this morning names 14 counts of RICO type charges, including “witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Harvey’s brother Bob is named as is their former company Miramax and current and former board members of the Weinstein Company.
The plaintiffs will accept nothing else except a jury trial. Watch. Harvey. Squirm.