Harvey Weinstein has been accused of rape in a new lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court Central District of California, Western Division.
The accuser, a woman described as a resident of Germany, said in her lawsuit that the disgraced mogul raped her in 2006, in a hotel room at the Cannes Film Festival, and that he later threatened her into silence. In a subsequent filing Tuesday, her lawyers asked that she be able to use the pseudonym “Emma Loman” because she “fears severe professional and economic retaliation and injury if her identity is disclosed.”
“This lawsuit is an attempt to continue the legal barrage and public attention on Mr. Weinstein. The allegations are untrue and the claims are barred by the statute of limitations. We intend to immediately move to dismiss the complaint,” Weinstein attorney Phyllis Kupferstein told TheWrap in a statement.
The lawsuit says Loman was initially fearful no one would believe her, and that Weinstein would retaliate. But after the wave of Weinstein accusers came forward beginning last fall, she “felt safe coming forward to seek redress for Weinstein’s rape of her, which she began pursuing immediately.”
The lawsuit says Loman met Weinstein at the Venice Film Festival in 2004, but that Weinstein didn’t contact her again until shortly before the 2006 Cannes festival, when he asked her to attend as his guest and discuss possible acting roles.
According to Loman’s account, Weinstein’s assistant called her “up to 30 times a day” to convince her to attend, and when she agreed, The Weinstein Company paid for her travel and lodging.
The suit offers a detail familiar from other accusations against the disgraced mogul: Weinstein said he had some roles in mind for Loman and invited her to his “office,” which she says turned out to be his hotel suite. There, the suit says, Weinstein “quickly dropped his professional demeanor” and “instead overpowered Loman and raped her.”
“Weinstein proceeded to treat the rape like a standard component of their business, as if the professional discussion he offered Loman had actually taken place,” the lawsuit continues. “Immediately after raping Loman, Weinstein told her that he would follow up with a call, and although Loman wanted to make clear to Weinstein again that he had just severely violated her, he quickly made her leave his suite, citing his busy schedule.”
The suit says that at an unspecified later date, Weinstein “lured” Loman back to his suite, where he told her that “even if she could somehow overpower” him, that his security guards would not let her leave until “she promised to keep silent about Weinstein’s assault and rape.”
Loman also accuses Weinstein of buying a film she had been cast in, then firing her in what the suit describes a “pointed reminder of both his power and memory.”
Loman is seeking a trial by jury and damages in an amount no less than $75,000. The suit also seeks punitive damages for assault, battery, and false imprisonment in an amount to be determined at trial, damages pursuant to the civil remedy for human trafficking, attorneys’ fees and any such other relief the court deems necessary.
Weinstein faces possible life in prison after being indicted in New York on six charges including predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act in the first degree, rape in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this reporting.