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Harvey Weinstein Allegedly Sexually Assaulted a 16-Year-Old Model, Lawsuit Claims

Harvey Weinstein, looking concerned.
Harvey Weinstein arrives at the New York State Supreme Court on October 11, 2018 in New York City.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

According to new filings in a civil lawsuit, in 2002, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein forced a 16-year-old Polish model to touch his penis, the AP reports. The case, Geiss et al . The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC et al, is a class action civil lawsuit working its way through the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and in an amended class action complaint filed on Wednesday, a new plaintiff was added: “Jane Doe,” the model in question. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

According to the complaint, Doe, who had moved to the United States to pursue a career in acting, met Weinstein at the age of 16 at an event in Manhattan held by her modeling agency. Weinstein invited her to lunch, then had his driver take them to his apartment instead.
There, he allegedly followed the same pattern outlined in the other allegations: demanding sex, telling Doe he had made Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow’s careers, and eventually “taking her hand and making her touch and massage his penis.” A shouting match followed, Doe stormed out as soon as Weinstein would let her, but was then subjected to “nearly a decade of sexual harassment and emotional abuse”. Weinstein allegedly contacted her every couple of weeks for years, painting himself as her only path to a career as an actress, making advances, getting possessive when she mentioned boyfriends, and even showing up once at the Four Seasons where she was living. Security turned him away. When Weinstein finally threw a part her way despite Doe consistently refusing his sexual advances, it was a “role” as an extra on The Nanny Diaries, and, according to the court filings, Weinstein poisoned it in advance:

On the set of The Nanny Diaries in 2004, it seemed to Jane Doe that every person on the crew knew that she was there because of her association with Weinstein. As a result, Jane Doe received special treatment—she was sent to lunch with the main actors, even though she was only an extra. People made comments to the effect of “Harvey said to treat you very well.” Still very young and inexperienced, Jane Doe did not understand that people were implying that she had a sexual relationship with Weinstein.

Doe allegedly met with Weinstein again at the Weinstein Company offices in 2008, when she was 23 and making one last attempt to become an actress. According to the court filings, she hoped that her age and experience—at least compared to when she was 16—would help her handle him. They did not. To be fair, no amount of age or experience would help handle someone who behaves as Weinstein allegedly did:

Meanwhile, the television in his TWC office showed Christina Aguilera performing. Weinstein paused their conversation to look up at the TV, and declared, “Wow, I’d really like to fuck that pussy.” He then unzipped his pants and began touching his penis. Jane Doe first froze, and then fled the office.

At Weinstein’s request, Doe signed with a modeling agency he chose, but “it was clear to her that she was viewed as a mere favor to Weinstein,” she felt “embarrassed and ashamed,” and “like a joke.” The complaint gives a concise summary of the way Weinstein allegedly groomed her, ruined her career, and inflicted permanent psychological damage:

240. Weinstein told Jane Doe, starting when she was 16 years old, that she could not be successful without engaging in unwanted sexual contact with him; he was the sole gatekeeper to the industry, and she would have to give him sexual favors in exchange for becoming an actor.

241. Because Jane Doe was unwilling to give Weinstein the sexual favors he demanded, Weinstein never gave her work and made sure others didn’t either.

242. In addition to acting as a barrier to her acting career, her encounter with Weinstein—her first sexual encounter—was deeply traumatizing. And the ensuing abuse, harassment, and manipulation has had compounding negative effects on her mental health. To this day, she has suffered from depression and anorexia, and she has found it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with men.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, denied the allegations on his client’s behalf, telling the AP, “Eventually, just as others have been exposed to be liars, this uncorroborated allegation that is almost 20 years old will be shown to be patently false.”

Besides Weinstein, the suit names Weinstein Company Holdings, Miramax, the Walt Disney Company, and corporate officers ranging from ten unnamed Miramax employees all the way up to Michael Eisner, arguing that they knew or should have known what Weinstein was capable of. In addition to this lawsuit, Weinstein is facing criminal charges in New York for an alleged rape in 2013 and a different incident of sexual misconduct in 2006. The first New York Times story about Weinstein’s alleged misconduct was published just over a year ago, on Oct. 5, 2017.