A Manhattan federal judge has granted British actress Kadian Noble permission to proceed with her lawsuit against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, denying a motion from Weinstein’s legal team asking for the lawsuit’s dismissal.
The actress accused Weinstein of violating federal anti-sex trafficking laws, accusing him of luring her to his hotel room with the promise of a role in exchange for sex.
“This decision is just the first round, and merely finds that plaintiff has alleged enough to proceed with her case,” a spokesperson for Weinstein said in a statement. “It does not mean that there is merit to the case. We will seek to appeal the decision. We believe these claims are not legally or factually supported, and ultimately will not be sustained.”
According to documents obtained by TheWrap, Noble accused Weinstein of luring her to his hotel room in February 2014 while they attended the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The lawsuit alleges that Weinstein and Noble had been discussing a possible role in one of Weinstein’s films, but when she arrived at his hotel room expecting to discuss her film reel with him, he began massaging her, then groped her breasts while she exclaimed “No, Harvey, no!” The suit also alleges Weinstein forced her to “walk up and down the room for him,” went on to rub Noble’s breast and buttocks, pull her shirt down and ultimately forced her to masturbate him.
Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinstein, and The Weinstein Company are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages. Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, court documents show, arguing that the alleged incident did not fall under federal trafficking laws forbidding “commercial sex acts” because she was not offered a “thing of value” in exchange.
But while Judge Robert W. Sweet dismissed the lawsuit against Bob Weinstein due to lack of evidence that he was aware of the alleged incident, the motion to dismiss the lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein was denied. Sweet wrote in his ruling that for an aspiring actress, the opportunity to meet a producer of Weinstein’s status “carries value, in and of itself.”
“The opportunity, moreover, for the actress to sit down with that producer in a private meeting to review her film reel and discuss a promised film role carries value that is career-making and life-changing,” the judge wrote. “The contention, therefore, that Noble was given nothing of value — that the expectation of a film role, a modeling meeting, of ‘his people’ being ‘in touch with her’ had no value — does not reflect modern reality.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.