Actress Rose McGowan filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Harvey Weinstein and two of his former attorneys engaged in racketeering to silence her and derail her career before she accused him of rape.
The suit filed in Los Angeles names as defendants Weinstein, attorneys David Boies and Lisa Bloom and their law firms, and Black Cube, an intelligence firm hired by Weinstein.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants conspired to defraud, smear and marginalise McGowan as she was preparing to name Weinstein during the run-up to the explosion of the #MeToo movement late in 2017. The suit comes on the heels of a pair of recent books that detail Weinstein and his team’s efforts to keep his accusers quiet.
“Harvey Weinstein was able to perpetrate and cover up decades of violence and control over women because he had a sophisticated team working on his behalf to systematically silence and discredit his victims,” McGowan said in a statement. “My life was upended by their actions, and I refuse to be intimidated any longer.”
Weinstein’s attorney Phyllis Kupferstein said McGowan is “a publicity seeker looking for money” and her suit is meritless.
“From the moment she sought a $6 million dollar payout in return for not making these baseless allegations, which we rejected at the time, we knew that she was waiting for an opportune time such as this to begin her suit,” Kupferstein said.
Emails seeking comment from the other defendants were not immediately returned.
McGowan, 46, known for her role in the ‘Scream’ movie franchise, was one of the earliest and one of the most prominent of dozens of women to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, making her a major figure in the #MeToo movement.
McGowan had been tweeting in 2017 that she was preparing to name her rapist in a forthcoming memoir, ‘Brave,’ which was published the following year.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants used spies posing as women’s rights advocates and journalists to obtain a copy of the memoir, illegally recorded her conversations, and smeared her to those in the entertainment industry who were working on projects with her.
Hers is one of several lawsuits, along with criminal charges, against Weinstein stemming from the sexual misconduct allegations, including a defamation suit from actress Ashley Judd.
Weinstein, 67, is scheduled for trial in January on charges alleging that he raped an unidentified woman in his New York City hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
The former movie mogul has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.