Toronto actress sues Harvey Weinstein for two alleged sexual assaults
The woman has hired high-profile Toronto law firm Henein Hutchison, home to Marie Henein, who was Jian Ghomeshi’s defence lawyer in 2014.
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An unnamed Toronto actress is suing disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for two sexual assaults that allegedly occurred in Toronto in 2000, according to documents filed in Ontario Superior Court.
The woman, who has hired high-profile Toronto lawyer Marie Henein, is identified in court documents as “Jane Doe.” She accuses Weinstein of taking his penis out in a hotel room and suggesting it would help her career if she had sex with him, then holding her down and forcibly performing oral sex on her against her will. In a separate incident, he is alleged to have forced his weight on her and stuck his tongue down her throat.
According to the allegations, Weinstein had invited the woman to his hotel for a breakfast meeting to discuss her career. A female assistant of Weinstein’s had told the woman there was a boardroom in his suite.
The woman is also suing the Miramax film company, the Walt Disney Co. and the female assistant, Barbara Schneeweiss — who is accused of “facilitating” the alleged assaults — for a combined total of $14 million.
At the time of the alleged assaults, Weinstein was co-chairman of Miramax, which was then owned by Disney.
The allegations have not been proven in court and none of the accused parties have filed statements of defence.
A spokesperson for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, did not respond to a request for comment. Miramax and Schneeweiss also did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesperson for the Walt Disney Co. said Weinstein had “virtual autonomy” to manage his business and Disney was unaware of any complaints, lawsuits or settlements.
“There is absolutely no legal basis for this claim against the Walt Disney Co. and we will defend against it vigorously.”
The woman, who was in her “early 20s” at the time of the alleged assaults, was working in her first movie when she met Weinstein in Toronto, according to the statement of claim. Her allegations are similar to those that have been mounting against Weinstein since The New York Times and The New Yorker published separate exposés about the Oscar-winning movie mogul on Oct. 5.
The Toronto woman says she had a small part in a Miramax-produced movie filmed in Toronto in 2000. After she finished shooting on what was supposed to be her final day on set, she says Weinstein approached her and said she looked like a well-known actress.
(Since there is a publication ban on the woman’s identity, the Star is also not naming the actress Weinstein said she resembled.)
The next morning the woman says she received a call from Schneeweiss, who said Weinstein wished to meet her for a “breakfast meeting” at the Sutton Place Hotel to “discuss her career and potential opportunities with Miramax.”
Once alone with the woman, Weinstein allegedly said he liked massages and asked, “What do you think about massages?”
The woman said she thought they were “great,” but the subject was “not an appropriate one for a business meeting.”
“Weinstein chuckled, then sat silently and did not move,” the statement of claim reads. “He stared intently at her for several seconds.”
To “break the uncomfortable silence,” the woman says she complimented Weinstein’s suite. He then “insisted” on giving her a tour.
As they got to the bedroom, the woman says Weinstein — who is 6 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds, according to media reports — “overpowered” her, pushed her onto the bed and “took his penis out of his pants.”
“After exposing his penis, he told Doe that he had made various famous actresses’ careers and could make Doe’s career as well,” the statement of claim reads. “He said words to the effect of ‘I do think you are a very talented young girl, but the best thing you could do for your career …’”
Weinstein then gestured and looked at his penis, according to the allegations.
The woman says Weinstein then “forced” down her skirt, held her down by the wrists and “forcibly performed oral sex on her without her consent.”
The woman said she said “no” two or three times and tried to resist the alleged assault, but was unable.
“At some point, Weinstein relaxed his grip on her wrists” and she was able to free herself and leave the suite, according to the statement of claim.
After the alleged assault, the woman says Weinstein called her “repeatedly” and left voicemails “insisting” that she return to the hotel. With her agent present and Weinstein on speaker phone, the woman said she eventually picked up. Weinstein, she says, “implored” her to return to the hotel to resolve the “misunderstanding.”
The woman “was fearful that her movie career, which had barely begun, could be destroyed if she did not return to the hotel and give Weinstein a chance to apologize,” she says in her statement of claim.
When the woman went to Weinstein’s hotel room, she initially stood in the hallway. Weinstein asked her to come into the room because he wanted to speak privately given how “very embarrassing” this was to him.
“Weinstein refused to take no for an answer. He kept asking and eventually begging her to come in,” the statement of claim reads. “She stepped inside the doorway. As soon as she did, he threw his weight onto her and tried to stick his tongue down her throat.”
The woman then “pushed herself free” and left the hotel room. She says Weinstein continued to “harass” her for about a year.
She says she was motivated to come forward about the 17-year-old incidents after reading the first accusations against Weinstein in the Times, which have since led to a cascade of allegations and investigations.
On Monday, four new accusers came forward to the Times with new sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, dating to the 1970s.
Weinstein issued an apologetic written statement when the accusations against him first surfaced, but he has strongly denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.
The Toronto woman says in her statement of claim that she reported the assaults to Toronto police last week, on Oct. 23.
A police spokesperson, Mark Pugash, would neither confirm nor deny whether Toronto cops are investigating Weinstein.
The case is scheduled to begin Nov. 6.