Harvey Weinstein faces new rape accusation in class action lawsuit

Three women accuse the former producer of sexually harassing and attacking them in a lawsuit filed in New York

Three women filed a class action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on Friday – a fresh blow for the fallen movie mogul, who was arrested in New York and indicted on rape and other charges related to sexual misconduct last week.

One woman, Melissa Thompson, accuses Weinstein of sexually harassing her when she went to his office to pitch a business idea, then luring her to a hotel room in New York and raping her.

The complaint also details how she initially approached the law firm of Benjamin Brafman last year, and turned over evidence, before realizing that Weinstein was actually a client of Brafman’s.

Brafman defended Weinstein on the steps of the court house in New York last Friday after the disgraced producer was taken there in handcuffs to face charges.

A second complainant, actress Caitlin Dulany, alleges that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in Cannes in 1996, while a third woman, actress Larissa Gomes, accuses Weinstein of attacking her in a hotel in Toronto in 2000.

Weinstein denies any nonconsensual sexual conduct.

Weinstein is already the defendant in another class action lawsuit filed by six women in California. Friday’s case was filed in New York. The lawsuit accuses Weinstein of running offices at the movie companies he controlled – Miramax and then the Weinstein Company - and hotel rooms like a “casting couch”, and says this was “a choice facilitated and condoned by Miramax, the Weinstein Company and its board of directors”.

The action says the plaintiffs and “hundreds of other females” found themselves with Weinstein in such places, where he “isolated” them “in an attempt to engage in unwanted sexual conduct that took many forms: flashing, groping, fondling, harassing, battering, false imprisonment, sexual assault, attempted rape and/or completed rape”.

It adds that “at all times” his victims were at risk of being “threatened or blacklisted” by Weinstein and his companies if they refused his unwanted sexual advances or complained about his behavior.

The lawsuit sues Weinstein, a series of companies, including Disney, and named executives and unnamed plaintiffs that he has worked with, many of whom are seen as having enabled his conduct.

Guardian staff and agencies

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