Julia Ormond sues Harvey Weinstein over sexual assault

The actress Julia Ormond has filed a lawsuit accusing the disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in 1995.

She also accuses The Walt Disney Co., Miramax and her former agents of knowing Weinstein was a problem, but doing nothing about it.

The case was filed in New York under the Adult Survivors Act, a law passed last year that allows a temporary window for those who allege sexual assault to file outside the statue of limitations.

Ms Ormond first appeared on British television in the series Traffik in 1989, and within four years had made her international film debut as the lead in The Baby of Mâcon.

In 1994, she starred alongside Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall, and then a year later with Harrison Ford in Sabrina, and with Sean Connery and Richard Gere in First Knight.

The actress alleges in her lawsuit that Weinstein hindered her career at the time her star was rising.

She claimed that she met Weinstein in 1994 and kept in touch with him to discuss scripts and projects, before entering into a production agreement with Miramax, where he was co-chairman.

She accuses him of committing sexual battery against her in December 1995 after a business meeting, and then retaliating against her and negatively affecting her career after she confronted him weeks later.

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein, 71, was convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020 and is currently in prison – AP

Imran Ansari, Weinstein’s lawyer, said his client “categorically denies the allegations made against him by Julia Ormond and he is prepared to vehemently defend himself”.

Ormond claimed she told her US agents at the time, Creative Artists Agency, but received no support and was advised not to take any legal action or other steps.

She has accused CAA, Disney and Miramax, saying that they knew Weinstein presented a danger to women, but did nothing to stop him or to help her.

According to the filing, “none of these prominent companies warned Ormond that Weinstein had a history of assaulting women because he was too important, too powerful, and made them too much money”.

CAA responded in a statement that the agency “takes all allegations of sexual assault and abuse seriously, and has compassion for Ms Ormond”.

The statement said the agency hired lawyers to investigate her claims when she first came to them in March, and they found only “evidence of a dynamic and engaged relationship between CAA and Ms Ormond, and the agency’s consistent efforts to support her career”.

“Ms Ormond’s claims against CAA are baseless, and the agency will vigorously refute them in court,” the statement said.

The lawsuit and subsequent media interviews mark the first time Ormond has publicly accused Weinstein of sexual assault.

Weinstein, 71, was convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020 and is in prison in the state.

Last year, he also was convicted of another rape in Los Angeles. He has appealed both convictions.

Dozens of women have sued Weinstein, many of them actors, but few have named such a broad list of defendants as Ormond.

Associated Press contacted Disney and Miramax for comment.

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