At 16, the model moved to New York, leaving her hometown in Poland and her parents behind to chase dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress.
At a modelling event in 2002, the teenager, Kaja Sokola, met the famous movie producer Harvey Weinstein. He found out she was interested in acting and invited her to lunch a few days later. Excited and eager, she thought the man behind ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ could open doors for her career.
But instead of taking her to lunch, Sokola says, Weinstein brought her to his New York apartment, forcing her to massage his penis and blocking the door when she tried to escape.
Sokola filed a lawsuit accusing the movie mogul of sexually abusing her when she was a minor.
Sokola was able to sue Weinstein in New York under the Child Victims Act, a new state law that opened a one-year window allowing sexual abuse victims of any age — including those whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations — to take legal action. The one-year window started in August.
Because of the expanded statute of limitations under the new law, Sokola is one of the few Weinstein accusers who can seek to hold The Walt Disney Co liable for Weinstein’s behaviour. Disney bought Miramax Films, in 1993 and sold it in 2010.
Sokola’s lawsuit, filed in Manhattan state court, accuses Miramax, Disney and Bob Weinstein of enabling Harvey Weinstein and ignoring sexual misconduct allegations against him. She is suing them, along with Harvey Weinstein, for an unspecified amount in damages.
Sokola decided to file her own lawsuit after rejecting a $25 million (Dh91.8 million) tentative settlement agreement reached last week by Harvey Weinstein and dozens of his accusers.
More than $12 million — a quarter of the overall settlement package — would go toward legal costs for Weinstein, his brother and other former members of their studio’s board. The board members would be insulated from future liability.
“I cannot accept the proposed ‘global settlement’ as fair or just,” Sokola said in a statement. “There is no accountability for the perpetrators, insufficient compensation for all of the victims and millions of dollars going to people that I believe enabled Weinstein.”
She said the incident flooded her with guilt and shame, causing long-term depression and anorexia.
She now works as a clinical psychologist in Krakow, Poland.