Harvey Weinstein has been hit with a civil complaint from a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the indie movie mogul when she was 16.
Kaja Sokola claims that Weinstein, the former head of Miramax and the Weinstein Company, met her at an event put on by her modeling agency in 2002 when she was still a minor. He arranged to have lunch with her to talk about her career, but after picking her up, he allegedly took her to his Soho apartment instead of to a restaurant. Once there, Sokola, an aspiring actress, claims the film executive bullied her into allowing him to fondle her and made her touch his penis.
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“Terrified and struggling to hold back tears, Sokola said she did not want to do anything further and resisted his demands,” the complaint reads. “Sokola had no intention or understanding when she agreed to a business lunch that she would be put in this position. Harvey Weinstein threatened and pressured Sokola, saying that he had ‘made’ the careers of Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow, and that neither would be working without him. He intimated that Sokola would never work as an actress unless she acquiesced to his demands.”
Sokola’s allegations were first filed in 2018, when she was part of a class-action lawsuit. At the time, she was identified as Jane Doe. Weinstein’s attorney at the time, Ben Brafman, called the claim “preposterous.”
The class action plaintiffs recently agreed to settle their suit against Weinstein. Under the terms of the deal, various insurers will pay $25 million to Weinstein’s accusers and their lawyers, including $18.5 million to the class action plaintiffs.
In a statement, Sokola said she did not want to be part of the settlement, saying the terms were unjust and allowed Weinstein to avoid accountability. Sokola’s attorneys, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, also represent Wedil David, another plaintiff who has refused to participate in the settlement. Wigdor and Mintzer said they hope the filing will encourage other victims to opt out of the settlement.
Weinstein’s brother and former business partner Bob Weinstein is also named in the suit, as is Miramax and the Walt Disney Company. Miramax was owned by Disney at the time of the alleged assault. It sold the studio in 2010 to an investor group for about $660 million.
Sokola is now 33 years old and the event took place 17 years ago, but she says it is still timely because the New York Legislature recently passed the Child Victims Act, which gives victims of sexual abuse more time to file civil claims. Under the law, people who were abused as children can start a civil case against their abuser until they are 55 years old.
“When I was 16 years old, I came to New York from Poland to work as a model and to try to become an actor, which had been my childhood dream,” Sokola said in her statement. “Not long after I arrived in New York, I was sexually abused by Harvey Weinstein. I have been living with the trauma of that day ever since.”
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