The civil rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company will continue despite its chief architect, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, stepping down on Tuesday after being accused of physical abuse by multiple women.
“Our office has never been stronger, and this extraordinarily talented, dedicated, and tireless team of public servants will ensure that our work continues without interruption,” said acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood in a statement to TheWrap.
Schneiderman, who in February filed a civil rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, was accused of abusing four women, including two who agreed to be named by the New Yorker, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam. The women told the magazine that Schneiderman “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent,” New Yorker writers Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow reported on Monday.
“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement that night. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”
The Schneiderman-led lawsuit had pushed for restitution for those claiming Weinstein abused them. The suit also aimed to stop any sales of The Weinstein Company that didn’t include a compensation fund or remove executives accused of harassment. Schneiderman had argued the company’s toxicity stretched beyond Weinstein, encompassing employees from all levels of the company to ensure silence from his accusers.
“Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” said Schneiderman in February. “Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear.”
Barish and Selvaratnam, the two women named in the New Yorker article, said they didn’t go to the police with their claims, but said they eventually received “medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.”