There appears to be no end in sight to the fall of once all-powerful film producer Harvey Weinstein, 71. This Wednesday it became known that 58-year-old British actress Julia Ormond filed a lawsuit against him in New York. Ormond accuses him of several sex crimes that occurred in 1995. The man behind some of the most important American films of the last half century has been sentenced to 23 years in a New York prison, to be joined by another sentence for another conviction. 16 years in California.
Ormond accuses Weinstein of sexually assaulting her after a business dinner in 1995. At that time, the 30-year-old British actress had already become a star herself. In a few months, from 1994 to 1995, she released three films that brought her fame: Legends of the Fall, First Knight And Sabrina. The actress and producer met around the same time, at a business meeting in 1994 in London, organized by the actress’s British agent. They then discussed future projects and, according to the suit, “Weinstein behaved appropriately during the meeting and they agreed to remain in contact.” He sent her several scripts, they talked on the phone, she gave him numerous notes from those scripts, and they gradually developed a professional relationship. She began working for Miramax, Weinstein’s film company, in its New York offices and living in an apartment paid for by the company.
As stated in the lawsuit published by such American media as Diversity And Page six — after that December 1995 dinner, Weinstein told her he wanted to talk to her about a possible project, but would only do so “by returning to the apartment that Miramax gave Ormond as part of their first-look deal with her.” ” She agreed to let him go to her home, and then, according to the documents, there he forced her to give him a massage, “stripped naked and forced her to perform oral sex on him” and masturbate him.
According to the lawsuit, Ormond reported the events to her agents Kevin Huvane and Brian Lourd (the ex-partner of actress Carrie Fisher and the father of her daughter, actress Billie Lourd). However, according to the actress, they warned her that speaking out against Weinstein was not a good idea, and then did not provide her with protection. According to the complaint, Huvane and Lourd knew “of Weinstein’s penchant for sexual abuse and exploitation, particularly against young actresses with whom Weinstein dated for business purposes” and “were aware of the confidential agreements Weinstein reached to conceal his conduct.” . from public exposure. But they did not disclose these circumstances to Ormond or otherwise warn her.” So in addition to Weinstein, Ormond is also suing her then-representation agency, Creative Artists Agency, or CAA, which she accuses of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, meaning that she failed to fulfill her duties of care while Ormond was their client.
CAA is one of the most important representation agencies in Hollywood and manages the careers of talents such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Sandra Bullock, Jane Fonda, Eddie Redmayne, Viola Davis or Barbra Streisand, among many others. other. Already in 2017 New York Times said they were part of Weinstein’s setup, then released a statement apologizing “for failing to live up to the high expectations we have for ourselves as individuals and as a company.”
In addition, Ormond is also suing Miramax, the production company that Harvey Weinstein founded with his brother Bob, and the Walt Disney Company, which owned the production company in the 1990s, in both cases for “negligent supervision and retention.” . Huvane and Lourd, now co-presidents of CAA, are not named as defendants but are mentioned in legal documents, claiming that “the people at CAA who represented Ormond knew about Weinstein.” So did Weinstein’s employers at Miramax and Disney.” “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.” Former then-Miramax and Disney executives, including former company Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Michael Eisner, are also being sued, although again not as defendants.
Of course, not a single project between Ormond and Weinstein was ever realized. Their careers crossed again only briefly and many years later: in My week with Marilyn, which was produced by The Weinstein Company in 2011 and featured Ormond in a supporting role. In 1997, after the attack, he wanted to visit her on set in Copenhagen, which she refused, turned him down, and soon after her contract with Miramax ended. “Ormond soon felt the wrath of Weinstein,” the lawsuit states. Her career was never the same again: she then received as much as $3.5 million for the title, which today, adjusted for inflation, would be more than double. “The damage to Ormond’s career due to Weinstein’s attack and its aftermath has been catastrophic, both personally and professionally,” the lawsuit states, noting that she has “almost disappeared from the public eye.” Friends called her, suspecting that something had happened.
Although Weinstein has been accused and convicted of various sex crimes by nearly a hundred women over the past decade, it is rare to see other companies, his own or those associated with him, accused of colluding or covering up rape in these lawsuits. . From his prison cell in New York, the tycoon “categorically denies” Ormond’s allegations in a statement from his lawyer and insisted that “he is prepared to vigorously defend himself.” “This is yet another example of a complaint filed against Mr. Weinstein after decades, and he is confident that the evidence will not support Ms. Ormond’s allegations,” his lawyer argued.
Along with the lawsuit, Ormond released a statement explaining that she had lived with “painful memories” caused by Weinstein for “decades.” “I seek personal closure by holding them accountable to recognizing their role and the depth of its harm, and hope that all of our increased understanding will lead to further protection for all of us at work,” the performer says. She also assured Diversity that she decided to go public with her story now because she believes that “systemic change” is needed and that “accountability from those who help” is necessary “to get there”; telling her story is one way to do that. “Obviously, Harvey Weinstein is in prison and will be in prison for a very long time. Personally, I don’t believe Harvey could have done this without help. And to me, that’s the level you need to get to in terms of the root cause.”
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