Rose McGowan has filed a federal lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and others, referred to as the “Weinstein-Protection Enterprise,” accusing them of a “pattern of racketeering” carried out in their alleged attempts to keep the actress from revealing that Weinstein allegedly raped her at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
The suit, obtained by Rolling Stone, was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on Wednesday. Along with Weinstein, it names his attorneys David Boies and Lisa Bloom, their firms Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and the Bloom Firm, and the Israeli intelligence firm Black Cube.
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“Harvey Weinstein was able to perpetrate and cover up decades of violence and control over women because he had a sophisticated team working on his behalf to systematically silence and discredit his victims,” McGowan said in a statement. “My life was upended by their actions, and I refuse to be intimidated any longer.”
In response, a lawyer for Weinstein, Phyllis Kupferstein, said, “Once and for all, Rose McGowan will be shown to be what she is: a publicity-seeker looking for money. From the moment she sought a multi-million dollar payout in return for not making these baseless allegations, which we rejected, we knew that she was waiting for an opportune time to begin this. We will demonstrate that this case has no legal merit.”
McGowan’s lawsuit alleges that Weinstein’s campaign of intimidation began around 2016, after she teased her new memoir, Brave, on Twitter, promising to expose the rampant misogyny in Hollywood. While McGowan did not mention Weinstein by name in any tweets, the suit acknowledges that it was widely believed she was referring to the producer and “intended to reveal damaging information about him in the book.”
The suit offers an extensive breakdown of the alleged behavior of Weinstein and his associates, pulling from McGowan’s own experiences, as well as reporting in The New York Times and The New Yorker, plus Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s She Said and Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill.
Among the allegations in the suit: Weinstein used his connections at Amazon Studios to have them buy one of McGowan’s screenplays then kill the project, and that higher-ups at American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, were helping Weinstein find stories to disprove and discredit McGowan. It also claims that McGowan’s recent drug charge was part of a smear campaign, alleging that someone connected to Weinstein planted cocaine in her wallet (the suit notes that the criminal attorney she hired for the case ended up on Weinstein’s defense team nine days after he encouraged her to plead no contest in the case).
The suit also details the extensive work Black Cube did on Weinstein’s behalf, such as enlisting journalists to surreptitiously record McGowan in the hopes of obtaining more details about her book. It also claims the firm hired an ex-Israeli intelligence official to pose as a women’s rights activist and investor who wanted to work with McGowan, but was actually also trying to gain information about the book.
McGowan’s lawsuit comes as Weinstein awaits the start of a criminal sexual assault trial in New York. In August, it was announced that the start date had been pushed back to January 6th, 2020 so the defense would have time to respond to a revised indictment. Weinstein faces five felony charges: Two for predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count for first degree rape, and one count for third degree rape. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and claimed all of his sexual encounters were consensual.
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