Six women on Wednesday (December 6) filed a class action against disgraced former mogul Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, The Weinstein Company, Miramax and others.
Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt claim they and many others were subjected to unwanted sexual conduct.
The action came on the same day that TIME magazine named “the silence breakers” – the many women who have spoken out against harassment and assault by powerful men – as its person of the year.
The six complainants said they were afraid Harvey Weinstein and his associates would ruin their careers if they went public with allegations.
The claim lodged in a federal court in New York cites battery, assault, negligent supervision and retention, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The development follows sensational exposés in The New York Times and The New Yorker in October and subsequent claims by individuals in other publications that Harvey Weinstein allegedly raped, sexually assault and sexually harassed woman over several decades.
Weinstein has “unequivocally” denied any allegation of non-consensual sex.
In a joint statement the six complainants said: “One thing is clear: to create a permanent change in the culture, we need to send a message to the powerful and wealthy individuals, companies and industries that feted their Harvey Weinsteins, instead of protecting the victims.
“These individuals and companies chose to put ad revenue and movie sales, profits and ledgers before compassion and integrity. If money is the language they speak, then so be it. Let them learn that it is costlier to cover up assault, harassment, rape and violence. Let them learn the hard way: wallet first.”
Separately, representatives for Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant Sandeep Rehal said a sexual harassment lawsuit would be forthcoming from their client.