State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
As part of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken.
“No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear,” said Schneiderman, a Democrat. “If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”
The New York City-based company fired Weinstein on Oct. 8 after The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed allegations of sexual assault and harassment spanning decades.
More than three dozen women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have publicly accused the entertainment mogul of abuse. Weinstein has denied allegations of nonconsensual sex.
A woman who answered the phone in The Weinstein Co.’s media relations office said the company had no comment on the subpoena or news of the investigation.
Police in Los Angeles, New York City and London are also investigating Harvey Weinstein over allegations of sex abuse in those cities.
The Oscar winner was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Producers Guild of America has started the process of expelling him.
The allegations have prompted calls in Albany to use the power of the state to crack down on harassment. Democratic Assemblywoman Nily Rozic of Queens proposed legislation that would make designers, photographers, retailers and others liable for harassment experienced by models.
Another lawmaker, Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan, proposed legislation that would make companies ineligible for state tax incentives if they fail to address chronic harassment problems in the workplace.
Source: Associated Press