Rose McGowan filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Harvey Weinstein and two of his former attorneys engaged in racketeering to silence her and derail her career before she accused him of rape.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, names lawyers David Boies and Lisa Bloom and Black Cube, an Israeli private intelligence agency hired by Weinstein.
McGowan’s suit alleges the defendants conspired to defraud, smear and marginalize McGowan as she was preparing to name Weinstein during the run-up to the explosion of the #MeToo movement late in 2017.
“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, 46, said in a statement. “My life was upended by their actions, and I refuse to be intimidated any longer.”
McGowan alleges that Weinstein and the other defendants used spies posing as women’s rights advocates and journalists to obtain a copy of her memoir when they found out she planned to describe in detail an alleged 1997 rape. She also alleges that they illegally recorded her conversations.
The Scream actor claims that a Black Cube operative collected hours of conversations after posing as someone who pretended to want to hire McGowan as a speaker at public events.
McGowan also alleges the defendants smeared her to those in the entertainment industry who were working on projects with her and that they illegally conspired to intimidate her.
“This case is about a diabolical and illegal effort by one of America’s most powerful men and his representatives to silence sexual-assault victims,” the opening sentence of the suit reads. “And it is about the courageous women and journalists who persisted to reveal the truth.
“Weinstein enlisted others — including his co-Defendants in this case — as co-conspirators, all working with a single mission: to protect Weinstein’s reputation, suppress negative information about him, and silence and discredit his accusers.”
The lawsuit heavily cites and repeats stories detailed in the recently released books Catch and Kill by New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow and She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.
In Kantor and Farrow’s books, both authors describe the work done for Weinstein by Boies and Bloom, who both faced criticism for representing the movie mogul.
The lawsuit alleges that Bloom approached McGowan and Farrow as an ally in an attempt to get them to back off Weinstein, without revealing that she was working for him to revive his reputation.
Bloom’s lawyer, Eric M. George, said in a statement that it is “inexcusable that Ms. McGowan chose to include my client in her lawsuit. Facts matter. There is simply no credible factual or legal basis for her claims against my client.”
“McGowan has suffered tremendously from Defendants’ conspiracy and lies,” the suit states. “Her book sales suffered; her expenses mounted; her job opportunities vanished; and her emotional health cratered. She has experienced trauma and depression from defendants’ actions, and the deep betrayal will have life-long effects.”
Weinstein’s lawyer Phyllis Kupferstein said McGowan is “a publicity seeker looking for money” and her suit is meritless.
“From the moment she sought a $6 million payout in return for not making these baseless allegations, which we rejected at the time, we knew that she was waiting for an opportune time such as this to begin her suit,” Kupferstein said.
Boies has not commented in response to the suit.
McGowan’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial, and an injunction forbidding further misconduct toward the 46-year-old actor.
McGowan previously accused Weinstein of rape on Twitter but did not go into detail.
She detailed the alleged incident in her memoir Brave, and refers to Weinstein in the book only as “the Monster.”
McGowan writes that she was sent up to his suite in Park City, Utah, where she thought they were going to have a meeting about her career.
McGowan says Weinstein pulled her into a room and took her clothes off, where she froze “like a statue.”
She goes on to say that Weinstein proceeded to sit her on the side of the room’s jacuzzi and perform oral sex on her while he masturbated, according to the NYT review.
McGowan also writes that she told some people who “counselled me to see it as something that would help my career in the long run” and was allegedly told by a criminal lawyer she wouldn’t be believed if she decided to press charges against Weinstein.
McGowan was among the women cited in an initial New York Times report in October 2017 as having settled harassment claims against Weinstein. The report claimed that Weinstein paid US$100,000 to McGowan in 1997 over the incident in the hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Weinstein, 67, is scheduled for trial in January on charges that he raped an unidentified woman in his New York City hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
—With files from the Associated PressFollow @KatieScottNews
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