LOS ANGELES • Weinstein versus Weinstein has commenced.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was fired by the studio he had helped found after The New York Times revealed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him, sued The Weinstein Co on Thursday to demand access to records and e-mail.
The complaint, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, said he needed the materials to defend himself.
More than 50 women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse him of sexual harassment or rape.
“Mr Weinstein believes that his e-mail account – which is the primary, if not only, account he used during the term of his employment by the company – will contain information exonerating him,” the complaint said.
He also wants access to his former e-mail account and other company documents, including his personnel file, to pursue a claim of wrongful termination against The Weinstein Co, according to the complaint.
He also wants to pursue legal action against the studio “for mismanagement by leaking confidential company information” – saying that certain news reports about his behaviour “could have only come from his personnel file”.
According to the filing, Weinstein is also seeking the materials to protect his 20 per cent ownership stake in the studio by making sure it does not sell itself for a bargain price or make “unjustified settlements” with women who have made allegations against him.Through a spokesman, Weinstein has repeatedly denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex”.
A representative for The Weinstein Co did not respond to a request for comment.
Last week, The Weinstein Co, known for Oscar-winning films such as The King’s Speech (2010) and The Artist (2011), gave Colony Capital a limited period to exclusively pursue the purchase of some or all of the studio’s assets.
After a preliminary agreement with Colony for an immediate cash infusion fell through, The Weinstein Co has begun to negotiate with Fortress Investment Group over a US$35-million (S$48-million) financing package that would provide enough liquidity for the studio to operate into January.