Jennifer Lawrence has been forced to deny having a sexual relationship with disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein after the claims emerged in court documents.
The Hollywood star, who first came to prominence in ‘The Hunger Games’ film series, is referred to in a sexual assault lawsuit filed by an anonymous actress in Los Angeles.
The claim, which was filed on Friday, alleges that Weinstein pushed the woman to the ground and forcibly performed oral sex on her after she rejected his advances during a meeting at his office in 2013.
According to the legal documents, Weinstein, 66, asked the claimant, referred to as “Jane Doe”, “Do you even want to be an actress?” before adding “I slept with Jennifer Lawrence and look where she is, she has just won an Oscar.”
In response Lawrence, 28, who won the best actress Oscar for the 2012 film ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and is one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses, released a statement denying that she had ever slept with Weinstein and accusing the producer of using “predatory tactics” to target women.
Lawrence said: “My heart breaks for all the women who were victimised by Harvey Weinstein. I have never had anything but a professional relationship with him. This is yet another example of the predatory tactics and lies that he engaged in to lure countless women.”
The woman who filed the claim is suing both Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, the film studio he founded with his brother Bob, alleging sexual battery and discrimination.
A representative for Weinstein, who has always denied the sexual assault claims, said the lawsuit was meant to “embarrass” the producer. He added: “There is absolutely no truth to the malicious claims made in this lawsuit, and we are reviewing our options with an eye on filing for an immediate dismissal.
“Mr Weinstein is embarrassed for Ms Lawrence, with whom he has only had a professional and respectful relationship, who has sadly been dragged into this ugly attempt at defamation.”
It is the latest in a string of allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein since claims by several women, including the actress Rose McGowan, were first published by The New York Times in October 2017.
Dozens of A-listers lined up to criticise the producer following the reports, including Lawrence, who said in November 2017 that she “had heard he was a dog” but that he was “never inappropriate” with her.
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company, which was later shut down, and the accusations have been central in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.
The day before the latest lawsuit emerged, it was revealed a group of Weinstein’s accusers have tried to stop him making his private emails public.
Weinstein asked a bankruptcy court in the US state of Delaware to allow him to recover files, including emails, from The Weinstein Company for his defence against sexual assault charges made in New York.
His accusers from a separate civil case asked a judge to block the release of the material over confidentiality concerns. They allege Weinstein’s lawyers told them he “intended to unleash these emails in the media to sway the court of public opinion”.
Scott Cousins, Weinstein’s civil lawyer, said the women were “doing all they can to prevent the truth from coming out”.