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New York Joins Los Angeles in Legal Action Against Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company

image: The Weinstein Company Logo

Last week, we were gleefully able to report that both the Los Angeles and the Beverly Hills Police Departments had submitted cases to the Los Angeles District Attorney against Harvey Weinstein for multiple charges of sexual assault. Now, New York is getting into the act. Only this time, it’s not just Weinstein that they’re after, but The Weinstein Company.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office has filed a civil rights lawsuit against The Weinstein Company for the consistent and systemic, gender-based harm the company caused women who worked with them, saying that Weinstein in his role as former CEO, along with everyone else, led “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends.”

As reported by Splinter, Schneiderman wrote that “Any sale of the company must ensure victims are adequately compensated, employees are protected, and that enablers of sexual misconduct will not be unjustly enriched. For 4 months, my office has been investigating the Weinstein Companies—revealing new and egregious examples of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein, and repeated violations of NY law by company officials.”

That this suit has as one of its goals financial compensation for the victims (and protection of employees) from any and all future earnings for The Weinstein Company’s owners and shareholders is huge, and this being a civil rights suit is extremely important.

It emphasizes the fact that the problems spotlighted in the #MeToo Movement aren’t just the product of one or two outliers. It’s not, nor has it ever been just about one horrible man. It’s about the system that props these men up and enables them to cause the harm they do. Going after The Weinstein Company implicates not just Harvey Weinstein for the crimes he’s committed, but his brother and co-owner of TWC Bob, and the company as an entity for discrimination and abuse.

Women should never have to expect that being harassed or assaulted as “the way it is.” This suit frames rampant sexual harassment and assault and the systemic problems that perpetuate rape culture and endanger lives as gender-based violations of civil rights as crimes, and these charges in particular as instances of workplace discrimination. Which they, of course, are.

(image: The Weinstein Company)

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