Sexual misconduct scandal

Weinstein sued for 2016 rape

Actress Rose McGowan surrendered to the police on Tuesday on a month-old arrest warrant involving drug possession.
Actress Rose McGowan surrendered to the police on Tuesday on a month-old arrest warrant involving drug possession. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein

DETROIT • Harvey Weinstein and the studio he co-founded, The Weinstein Company, were sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday by an anonymous actress who said she was raped by the movie producer in spring last year.

Also on Tuesday, actress Rose McGowan, who has been outspoken in condemning Weinstein, turned herself in to the authorities in suburban Washington to face a charge of felony drug possession.

In the lawsuit, the actress who is represented by attorney Gloria Allred and identified as Jane Doe, said Weinstein, 65, invited her to a hotel to discuss a role in the television show Marco Polo, but instead forced her onto a bed, pulled off her jeans and raped her despite her telling him no.

Because the Weinstein Co knew of Weinstein's misconduct towards women, it is liable for the pain he inflicted, according to the lawsuit, which is seeking undisclosed damages.

The actress never received a job offer for the show, according to the lawsuit.

Ms Allred could not be reached for comment, but a copy of the lawsuit was posted online by Variety.

A spokesman for Weinstein said in an e-mail: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein."

Weinstein, who was fired by the Weinstein Co last month, has sued his former employer for company records that he says could help him defend himself against sexual assault allegations and for a wrongful termination case. More than 50 women have claimed that he sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades and Weinstein has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The police in New York, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and London have said they are investigating allegations of sexual assault or rape by Weinstein.

On Tuesday, McGowan surrendered to the police on a month-old arrest warrant involving a flight she took to Washington Dulles International Airport. The police said she left personal items behind on a United Airlines plane on Jan 20 and that they had tested positive for narcotics.

McGowan, 44, was placed under arrest by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office in Virginia and was later released on a US$5,000 (S$6,787) bond. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to a year in prison.

The warrant was issued in February, but did not become public until last month, after McGowan had started to speak about sexual misconduct in Hollywood and a 1997 hotel room encounter she said she had with Weinstein. She had declined to describe what occurred with him, but later described her experience on Twitter as rape.

In 1997, she reached a US$100,000 settlement with Weinstein, and she said through her lawyer in October that someone close to Weinstein had offered her US$1 million to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

She responded with a request for US$6 million, but told her lawyer to pull the offer early last month after The New York Times published an article about Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment, aggression and misconduct towards women. The 1997 encounter was mentioned in the article.

It is unclear when McGowan first learnt of the warrant. But after it became known publicly, she called it an attempt to silence her.

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Weinstein sued for 2016 rape'. Print Edition | Subscribe