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Sexual Misconduct Accusations Rock Lionsgate Legal Affairs Department

Former VP Wendy Jaffe says she suffered years of abuse by former general counsel Wayne Levin

A subordinate of former Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. general counsel Wayne Levin has accused him of sexual harassment and abuse, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Wendy Jaffe, a former Lionsgate executive vice president of legal affairs, told the Journal that Levin — who abruptly left the company last November — subjected her to a nonconsensual sexual contract.

She said she told CEO Jon Feltheimer for the first time in 2016 that Levin had spanked her, groped her and asked her to sit on his lap while negotiating her contract. That conversation with Feltheimer took place after Jaffe had left Lionsgate and was part of the settlement negotiations.

Levin disappeared from the corporation in November 2017, and Lionsgate made no announcement, but included a paragraph in regulatory filing that month that said he had resigned for “personal and medical reasons.” His attorney told the Journal that he had been considering resigning before the accusations surfaced after Jaffe left Lionsgate in 2016.

“Mr. Levin will not respond in the press to Ms. Jaffe’s allegations,” Levin’s lawyer said in a statement to TheWrap.

According to the Journal report, the accusations resulted in negotiations resulting in two settlement agreements and one $2.5 million payment from the company to Jaffe.

“I hoped leaving quietly would make the abuse stop but it didn’t. So, I stood up for myself and other employees, and Lionsgate treats that as the problem rather than what its executives do,” Jaffe told TheWrap in a statement. “This has to stop, and that’s why I speaking out.”

As part of the initial settlement in December 2016, Ms. Jaffe and Lionsgate agreed to keep the circumstances of her departure confidential, the Journal reported.

A spokesperson for Lionsgate told TheWrap, “We never comment on specific personnel actions, but we take sexual harassment allegations very seriously, investigate them thoroughly and independently and take appropriate remedial action.  We are committed to a safe, respectful and tolerant environment for all of our employees.”

Jaffe told the Journal that the relationship between she and Levin “was never really about sex, it was about controlling someone and asserting power and that continued even when the physical component stopped.”

Jaffe met Levin when he was her instructor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. She began working for him after graduation at a company that Lionsgate acquired in 2000.

Jaffe told the Journal that Levin ordered her to come to his office and engage in “dehumanizing” sexual acts. She said she agreed to some of his demands out of “shame and fear.”