Deadline reports that an actress has just lodged a $5 million civil suit against The Weinstein Co., accusing the company of negligence for doing nothing to stop Harvey Weinstein from assaulting her, despite allegedly having known for years about his behavior toward women. According to the suit, put forward by actress Dominique Huett, “Prior to the incident involving Plaintiff, Defendant TWC’s executives, officers and employees had actual knowledge of Weinstein’s repeated acts of sexual misconduct with women,” but did nothing to stop them.
Huett’s case is the first major civil action to come out of the recent Weinstein scandal, which has seen dozens of women come forward with accusations of sexual harassment and assault against the former TWC head. At the same time, there have been numerous hints that the company’s board knew about Weinstein’s alleged behavior; his contract contained language allowing him to basically buy off punishments for legal settlements with women, although numerous board members—including Weinstein’s brother, Bob—have said they thought Weinstein was simply covering for consensual affairs.
Huett’s story, meanwhile, will be depressingly familiar to anyone who’s been keeping up with the Weinstein news at all. According to her complaint, she says she was invited up to the producer’s hotel room, ostensibly for a meeting, and was then met with demands for massages, and to allow Weinstein to perform oral sex on her. These “requests,” which Huett says she assented to after saying “No” multiple times, were accompanied with promises to improve her career.
“This is the casting couch at the extreme level,” Huett’s lead lawyer, Jeff Herman, told reporters today. “Whether it is a criminal case is not for me to say, we are saying that the company knew he was doing this to women. What she wants to do is take on Hollywood, force a change of its attitude towards women.” You can read the full complaint here.