Julia Ormond at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008

Julia Ormond Suing CAA, Miramax, and Disney for Enabling Alleged Assault by Harvey Weinstein

While notorious movie producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, accused of sexual assault by more than 100 women, will probably die in prison, the many Hollywood movers and shakers who enabled and covered up his decades of criminal behavior have never been held accountable. Actress Julia Ormond is trying to change that.

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Ormond is suing Weinstein for sexual battery, for an assault she says took place in 1995 after a business dinner. According to Variety, the suit filed Wednesday also names Miramax, the company that Weinstein co-founded; Walt Disney Company, which owned Miramax at the time; and Creative Artists Agency, one of the world’s largest talent agencies.

“I am coming forward with my story now publicly because I feel as if we still need systemic change, and I feel that we need accountability from enablers in order to get there,” Ormond told Variety.

According to the lawsuit, Ormond told her agents Bryan Lourd and Kevin Luvane, who are now co-chairs of CAA, about the alleged assault. She claims that they urged her not to speak out or take action and failed to protect her by warning her of Weinstein’s reputation for abusing actresses. She is suing CAA for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty and Miramax and Disney for negligent supervision and retention.

“The men at CAA who represented Ormond knew about Weinstein. So too did Weinstein’s employers at Miramax and Disney,” the lawsuit states. “Brazenly, none of these prominent companies warned Ormond that Weinstein had a history of assaulting women because he was too important, too powerful, and made them too much money.”

Ormond filed the lawsuit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which created a one-year window in which adult victims can sue their abusers regardless of when the alleged abuse took place. It’s the same law that E. Jean Carroll used in her lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, in which she won $5 million in damages related to an assault that took place in a dressing room at Bergdorf’s in the 1990s.

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York for rape and sexual assault. In February, he was sentenced to an additional 16 years after a similar conviction in Florida. More than 100 women have come forward detailing similar crimes spanning decades following a historic exposé in the New York Times. The investigation became the subject of the movie She Said and drew attention to the #MeToo movement, founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke.

This isn’t the first time Ormond has raised her voice to draw attention to a systemic problem. Best known for her starring roles in 1990s movies such as Legends of the Fall, First Knight, and Sabrina, Ormond is also a longtime activist in the fight against human trafficking, promoting international awareness of the issue as Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations and founder of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking. Now she hopes this lawsuit will lead to improvements in transparency about the reporting structures for workplace abuse and the use of non-disclosure agreements to silence victims.

“Obviously, Harvey Weinstein is in jail and is going to be in jail for a very long time,” Ormond told Variety. “I personally don’t believe that Harvey could have done this without enablers. … If there had been best practices and Harvey Weinstein had been called out at the start after his first sexual harassment or his first sexual assault, he could have learned different behaviors, and potentially all of the people that followed wouldn’t have been harmed. But he wasn’t. And there’s a reason for that.”

(featured photo: Dominique Charriau, WireImage)

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Erika Wittekind
Erika Wittekind (she/her) is a contributing writer covering politics and news and has two decades of experience in local news reporting, freelance writing, and nonfiction editing. Her hobbies and special interests include hiking, dancing in the kitchen, trying to raise empathetic teen boys, and keeping plants alive. Find her on Mastodon at @erikalyn.newsie.social.