While some have commented that in spite of the continuing sexual assault and harassment claims against Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, it would be difficult to build a criminal case, that doesn’t mean there will be no legal ramifications. It is very likely that Weinstein’s alleged mistreatment of women will lead to costly civil lawsuits that could have severe consequences for both the executive himself and his namesake film and TV company due to the significant potential liability involved.
According to California law, Weinstein Co. could be held liable for Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment. Whether or not alleged victims could bring a lawsuit against 65-year-old Weinstein would depend on the California statute of limitations for civil sexual assault (2 years in California, although Weinstein has also been accused of similar behavior in New York where the state of limitations is 3 years). Experts in sexual assault and the law expect to see a flood of lawsuits head Weinstein’s way unless he has already settled with the victims outside of court.
Possibly to minimize any more legal trouble, Weinstein Co., fired Weinstein after a New York Times investigation discovered that Weinstein had reached a minimum of 8 legal settlements dating back to 1990 over various instances of alleged sexual harassment. The New Yorker published a story that included an array of allegations, but one stood out from the rest. The respected news outlet reported that Weinstein had raped 3 women in the last 2 decades, including well known actress, Asia Argento, from the 1999 drama “B. Monkey” distributed by Miramax. Weinstein has previously apologized for “his behavior,” but does deny claims of rape, stating that he believed all the relationships to be consensual.
Weinstein Co.’s board or directors publicly stated that they were shocked and dismayed by the allegations being made and that they supported investigations into the alleged acts.