Weinstein Company faces civil rights investigation amid sexual assault fallout

The 65-year-old producer has denied the allegations 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 23 October 2017 19:32 BST
More than three dozen women have accused Mr Weinstein of assault of harassment
More than three dozen women have accused Mr Weinstein of assault of harassment

The federal government has launched a civil rights investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s movie production company following a series of sexual assault allegations.

Amid a barrage of allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment levelled at the movie mogul, the office of New York state’s most senior prosecutor said it had launched a civil rights investigation.

The move by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman follows the announcement of criminal investigations into the film producer by police in London, Los Angeles and New York. The FBI is reportedly also looking into Mr Weinstein’s behaviour.

The Associated Press said Mr Schneiderman said his office wanted to know if any New York employees of the film producer were subjected to harassment or assault while working for The Weinstein Company, which Mr Weinstein set up with his brother and is based in New York.

“No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear,” said Mr Schneiderman. “If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”

More than three dozen women have publicly accused the entertainment mogul of various forms of sexual abuse dating back more than 20 years. Four women have said he raped them. Mr Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

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Mr Weinstein was fired earlier this month by the company after allegations of sexual assault and harassment spanning decades were exposed by the New York Times and the New Yorker.

As part of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. Among those to have accused Mr Weinstein were Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

Mr Weinstein, who is said to be undergoing therapy since the allegations are made public, was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Producers Guild of America has started the process of expelling him.

In a statement issued at the time the allegations were made, Mr Weinstein’s spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”

She added: “He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counselling and rebuilding his life.”

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