Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant sues over ‘severely sexually hostile’ work environment

Harvey Weinstein speaks at the 'Lion' press junket during the 12th Zurich Film Festival on September 22, 2016. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

NOTE: This article contains disturbing and sexually explicit language. Please read at your own discretion

An ex-assistant of disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein has filed a lawsuit against him over what she claims was a “severely sexually hostile” working environment.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York by Sandeep Rehal, also names Weinstein’s brother Bob, The Weinstein Company and the head of human resources at the company, Frank Gil, as defendants.

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Rehal says in the lawsuit that she was forced to undertake demeaning tasks, like cleaning up after his sexual encounters (i.e. – regularly cleaning up semen stains on furniture) and taking dictation from him while he was naked.

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She was also tasked, she says, with setting up an apartment near Weinstein’s New York office for his various sexual liaisons, and had to endure unwanted touching by the producer. Rehal accuses Weinstein of frequently making lewd comments to her in front of her coworkers.

“Much of Rehal’s work as an employee of TWC involved catering to Harvey Weinstein’s sexual appetites and activities, and catering to his demeaning and often abusive family members,” states the filing. “Ms. Rehal was required to be involved in and aware of the preparations for, and clean up after, Harvey Weinstein’s extremely prolific sexual encounters.”

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Rehal’s civil suit says Weinstein, 65, kept a list of names and put asterisks next to women he considered his “girls.” She accuses Weinstein of forcing her to go buy lingerie and manage his supply of erectile dysfunction injections — which he allegedly regularly used. The drug, called Caverject, is administered via syringe.

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“Every time Harvey Weinstein went to meet a woman at a hotel, in the office, or elsewhere, which occurred on average at least three times a week when he was in New York, Ms. Rehal was required as part of her job to provide Harvey Weinstein with a shot, which she placed in his jacket pocket or in a brown paper bag,” reads her complaint.

She was 26 when hired by TWC as Weinstein’s personal assistant in 2013, and she says she quickly learned that there were “no boundaries” between his work and personal lives. By 2015, she reached “an emotional breaking point” and left the company.

“As a result of the hostile work environment caused by the incessant sexual harassment, Ms. Rehal has suffered, and continues to suffer from severe emotional distress, anxiety, depression, humiliation, fear, anguish and loss of self-esteem,” reads the lawsuit.

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In response to the lawsuit, Weinstein’s representative released a statement.

“Mr. Weinstein categorically denies these claims and his lawyers will respond in the appropriate legal forum with evidence proving they are untrue,” it reads.

“To say Weinstein’s behaviour was harmful, tawdry, demeaning and offensive is an understatement,” said Genie Harrison, Rehal’s lawyer. “Weinstein’s abuse of power has been well documented, allowing Sandeep finally to reveal the details of her employment, which before now might have seemed too incredibly horrifying to believe.”

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None of these accusations has been proven in court. Since early October, more than 100 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse, ranging from alleged incidents in hotel rooms to outright rape. He is currently facing numerous criminal investigations in cities around the world. The producer, through a representative, denies all accusations of non-consensual sex.

Rehal is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in addition to legal fees.

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