A former model has filed a lawsuit alleging that former Miramax executive Harvey Weinstein assaulted her after luring her to a hotel with the promise of a meeting with the company's then-chief executive.
Thursday, Sara Ziff filed a lawsuit in New York state court, alleging that Fabrizio Lombardo, the former president of Miramax in Italy, assaulted her in 2001 when she was 19.
Ziff claims she was an aspiring actress then and had attended a private movie screening with Lombardo, who was in his forties, in New York. She alleges that the assault occurred in a hotel where she was supposed to meet with Weinstein to discuss her career.
In 2010, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) sold Miramax to an investment consortium. Miramax was previously owned by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N).
The lawsuit names Weinstein, Miramax, and Disney as defendants, alleging that they knew Lombardo posed a "danger to women he encountered at work" but did nothing to stop him from victimizing the plaintiff.
Friday, neither Disney nor Miramax responded immediately to requests for comment. Lombardo could not be reached promptly for comment.
Allegations that Weinstein sexually assaulted models and actresses contributed to the 2017 launch of the #MeToo movement. In New York and California, he has been convicted of sex offences and sentenced to 39 years.
According to Ziff's lawsuit, Lombardo and Weinstein were "very close", and Weinstein was best man at Lombardo's 2003 nuptials.
Imran Ansari, Weinstein's attorney, emailed on Friday that Weinstein had neither knowledge nor control over Lombardo's behaviour.
Ansari stated, "As such, Mr Weinstein firmly denies that he has any liability for the alleged conduct of another,"
Ziff accuses Lombardo of sexual battery and violence motivated by gender and Weinstein and the companies of negligent oversight. She seeks unspecified compensation for lost wages, mental agony, and emotional distress.
The lawsuit was filed under a New York law passed last year that allows adult victims of alleged sexual assault to file lawsuits that would have otherwise been dismissed due to the cases' age.