The victims and their lawyers state Weinstein, his associates, and his company undertook a concerted effort to hide or deny his serial sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, to the point where the group began to function like an organized crime outfit.
The lawsuit identifies Weinstein and his accomplices as "The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise," and includes all of those who knowingly colluded to keep Weinstein's assaults against women throughout the years a secret. At this point, the group includes Weinstein himself, his brother, Bob Weinstein, and James Dolan — former director of the Weinstein Company and current owner of the New York Knicks.
"The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had many participants, grew over time as the obfuscation of Weinstein's conduct became more difficult to conceal," reads part of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit represents six women so far. However, as a class action lawsuit, it's possible for any of Weinstein's victims to join in, offer their testimony, and receive justice for their past trauma. Lawyers say they hope the suit will grow to represent a class of "dozens, if not hundreds" of women who have been harassed or attacked by Weinstein in his years as a producer.
The women who have already joined the suit include actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Melissa Sagemiller, Nanette Klatt, and Sarah Ann Thomas — who sometimes goes by the name Sarah Ann Masse. Screenwriter Louisette Geiss has also signed on. The six women released a joint statement along with the legal documents.
"Harvey Weinstein is a predator," it reads. "Bob [Weinstein] knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it. We have watched in horror, amazement, pride and gratitude in the last two months as women (and men) the world over have come forward and named their abusers. We stand with all those brave people who have had the courage and temerity to shine a spotlight into the darkness. Predators thrive in the shadows. It is only by keeping their secrets for them that we allow them to get away with it."
Since October, at least 75 women have come forward with stories about abuse, harassment, and assault they suffered at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. He and the Weinstein company have both declined to comment on the lawsuit.