Harvey Weinstein row: Dominique Huett first actress to file lawsuit, says Weinstein Co enabled his behaviour
An actress filed suit against The Weinstein Company on 24 October, alleging that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her and that the company had enabled his behavior.
Dominique Huett charges in her suit — the first to be filed since the Weinstein scandal broke earlier this month — that she met Weinstein at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills in November 2010 to discuss career opportunities.
The actress, who starred in an episode of the TV series Blue Bloods in 2015, says that the now-disgraced movie mogul lured her into his hotel room and then insisted she give him a massage.
She initially refused but he would not take "no" for an answer and she finally complied, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court states.
Huett says Weinstein then performed oral sex on her, also refusing to take "no" for an answer. "After performing oral sex on plaintiff, Weinstein masturbated in front of plaintiff until he reached orgasm," it added.
The lawsuit charges that The Weinstein Company (TWC) was complicit in the abuse the entertainment mogul allegedly committed, in that it had known for years of his "repeated acts of sexual misconduct with women."
"In particular, (TWC) was aware of Weinstein's pattern of using his power to coerce and force young actresses to engage in sexual acts with him," the lawsuit says.
It adds that armed with this knowledge, TWC "should have known that Weinstein was unfit and that this unfitness created a particular risk to others."
Huett's attorney Jeff Herman said the statute of limitations does not apply in the case given that his client was unaware of Weinstein's history of misconduct until the scandal broke this month.
- Employees used as honeypots -
"Prior to the incident involving plaintiff, (TWC) was aware of multiple claims of sexual misconduct which were settled with the victims prior to the filing of suit," the lawsuit states. "This knowledge was possessed by defendant's Board of Directors including, upon information and belief, Bob Weinstein." It added that staff at The Weinstein Company would often essentially help Weinstein carry out his sexual assaults.
"For example, female Weinstein Company employees were often used as 'honeypots' to lure his victims into a false sense of security," the lawsuit says. "The 'honeypots' would initially join a meeting along with a woman Weinstein was interested in, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman."
Dozens of women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse the veteran producer of sexual misconduct, including Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.
Weinstein resigned from the board of The Weinstein Company last week and has so far denied all allegations of forcing himself on his accusers. Officials at the company have previously denied any knowledge of Weinstein's misconduct and could not be reached for comment on 24 October.
Huett, who is to hold a press conference with her attorney on 25 October, is seeking general damages and special damages, including medical and psychological care expenses. She is also asking for unspecified punitive and exemplary damages.