The Weinstein Company Wants to Sell. But a Big New Civil Rights Lawsuit Stands in the Way

February 12, 2018, 12:33 PM UTC

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just threw a wrench in Harvey Weinstein’s planned sale of his eponymous company.

The company was due to be sold to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet for approximately $500 million, but Schneiderman is blocking that plan—at least for the time being. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit Sunday, charging Weinstein and his company of violating state and city laws that bar gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and coercion.

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In a news release Schneiderman said, “Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly released.”

While neither Harvey nor his brother Bob were due to receive any cash from the proposed sale, the suit alleges that members of the company’s board and its executives failed to protect employees from Weinstein. In particular, Schneiderman is reportedly concerned with the buyer’s promise to keep current employees, including David Glasser, who has been called the Weinsteins’ “third brother.”

In response to the lawsuit, the Weinstein Company’s board of directors called many of the allegations leveled against them “inaccurate,” and said that “any suggestion that the Company or its Board somehow impeded or discouraged the buyer’s access to the New York Attorney General is untrue.”

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Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman told The New York Times that “While Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality, and at the end of the inquiry it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader.”

The New York Post reports that Contreras-Sweet withdrew her offer after Schneiderman filed the suit.