Harvey Weinstein faces new sexual assault charges by ex-teen model
Disgraced movie producer, his brother and Disney all named in civil suit
Former model Kaja Sokola filed a lawsuit on Thursday against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, his former studio, Miramax and the Walt Disney Co., which purchased Miramax in 1993 and owned it until 2010.
Polish-born Sokola, previously known only as Jane Doe in an earlier lawsuit, claimed that in 2002, when she was a 16-year-old aspiring actress, Weinstein invited her to lunch, promising talk on her career. Instead, according to the lawsuit, he took her to his SoHo apartment in New York City, where he "aggressively and threateningly demanded sex."
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Weinstein was said to have "instructed her to take off her clothes," and "too touch herself," the filing states. He also removed his pants, and despite her protests, forced her to touch his privates while he "grabbed at her breasts."
In a recent statement to The Los Angeles Times, Sokola said she "cannot accept the proposed 'global settlement' as fair or just. There is no accountability for the perpetrators, insufficient compensation for all of the victims, and millions of dollars going to people that I believe enabled Weinstein...I know that this lawsuit cannot erase the pain that I have been living with for 17 years. But I do hope to achieve at least some measure of justice that has still been denied to Harvey Weinstein’s many victims.”
Walt Disney Co., Miramax and Weinstein representatives are yet to respond to the latest allegations.
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This case is just one of many lawsuits against Weinstein filed by women accusing him of sexual misconduct but is thought to be the first accusation of him assaulting a minor. This recent development comes just weeks before the shamed producer is set to face a criminal trial in New York City.
To date, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and the producer has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
A federal class-action suit filed in Dec. 2017 against Weinstein mentioned Sokola. The filmmaker and his former film studio board has reached a $47 million settlement with some of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.
The agreement states that around $25 million will be given to the accusers, $7.3 million to unsecured creditors and ex-Weinstein Co. employees and a further $12.2 million has been allocated to fund legal fees. Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2018.
Insurance companies will be making the payments on behalf of Weinstein and Weinstein Co. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Delaware is yet to officially approve the proposed deal.
But some Weinstein accusers are unsatisfied with the settlement.
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Douglas Wigdor, Sokola's attorney, said his client chose to remove herself from the class-action suit "because she wants to hold Weinstein and Disney to account." The lawsuit also lists Miramax co-founder Bob Weinstein, brother of Harvey Weinstein.
The lawsuit filed by Sokola also states that Disney and Miramax executives, including Bob Weinstein, "were aware of Harvey Weinstein's pattern of misconduct, but the companies that employed him with their prestige and resources and allowed him to find more victims, including Kaja Sokola.'
Sokola says that after the alleged assault in 2002, Weinstein prevented her from leaving the apartment. "Harvey Weinstein made it clear that refusing his sexual demands would mean giving up the opportunity to make it in Hollywood," the lawsuit states. According to the complaint, he is said to have told her that he "made" the careers of various A-list actresses and repeatedly told her that he was the only person to boost her acting career.
“Weinstein’s ongoing emotional abuse and the guilt, shame and anxiety,” the lawsuit alleges, led to “long term depression, anorexia and difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships with men.”
Wigdor says that due to the fact that his client was a minor at the time of the alleged assault her claims come under the Child Victims Act, which allows child abuse victims more time to file civil lawsuits against their abusers. Both New York and California passed these laws.