Harvey Weinstein Accuser Julia Ormond Suing Him and Talent Agency CAA for ‘Negligence’

Harvey Weinstein Accuser Julia Ormond Suing Him and Talent Agency CAA for ‘Negligence’

She thought she was having a business dinner — arranged by her reps at Hollywood talent agency CAA — to talk about a project. But according to actress Julia Ormond, Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein had other things on his mind when they met at a NYC restaurant in December 1995.

The then-powerful film producer said he would talk about the project back at her place. “Her defenses down because she had consumed several drinks, and wanting to finally get to what she thought was the purpose of their meeting, Ormond agreed to have Weinstein come back to her apartment,” her lawyers state in a lawsuit filed in October. “Soon after, Weinstein stripped naked and forced her to perform oral sex on him.”

Ormond is suing Weinstein for sexual battery. But she’s also suing those she believes enabled him — CAA, Miramax and Miramax’s then-parent business, the Walt Disney Company — accusing her agency of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for failing to protect her. (CAA calls the star’s claims against the company “completely without merit.”

A rep for Weinstein — who’s been accused of sexual assault by more than 100 women and is serving consecutive sentences of 23 years in New York and 16 years in California for assault and rape — has said the producer , 72, “categorically denies [Ormond’s] allegations.” Disney, which, along with CAA, in December filed to have Ormond’s lawsuit dismissed, has argued it didn’t have a responsibility to supervise Weinstein’s off-hours behavior.) According to the 59-year-old Emmy-winning British actress — a young talent on the rise in the mid-’90s with starring roles in Legends of the Fall with Brad Pitt, First Knight with Sean Connery and a Sabrina remake with Harrison Ford — agents Bryan Lourd, 63, and Kevin Huvane, 65, who are now CAA’s cochairs, encouraged the Weinstein meeting despite knowing that he was a predator. (They’ve denied prior awareness of his behavior.)

Then, after she later told them what happened, they discouraged her from reporting Weinstein to authorities, she alleges, and soon, CAA — widely considered one of the most influential talent agencies in the world — “lost interest in representing her,” damaging her career.

The actress’ lawyers believe there’s more to reveal. “We have continued our investigation, including speaking to other individuals who have come forward to us to share their relevant experiences,” attorney Effie Blassberger of Clayman Rosenberg Kirshner & Linder LLP tells In Touch. “While Julia is the first to bravely and publicly hold CAA accountable for its role in enabling Weinstein’s abuse, we know her experience is not unique.”

Etienne Laurent-Pool/Getty Images

Ormond’s legal team — which also includes Isabelle A. Kirshner, Douglas H. Wigdor, Meredith A. Firetog, Kevin Mintzer and Laura Koistinen — is certain “there are others out there with similar experiences, instances of CAA agents prioritizing their relationships with sexual predators like Weinstein over their obligations as fiduciaries to protect young, vulnerable actresses like Julia.”

Ormond is seeking justice. “I’ve been caught in this trap of ‘I’m going to face horrendous backlash of maybe never working again if I speak out, and I love what I do and don’t want to lose that, but I don’t want to participate in it as a hypocrite either,’” the Mad Men actress recently told Rolling Stone. “I am seeking accountability for myself and hoping that will bring further change.” 

In 2017, the #MeToo movement erupted, and The New York Times examined “Weinstein’s Complicity Machine,” including CAA’s role in his behavior. The investigation found that eight talent agents at CAA allegedly “were told that Mr. Weinstein had harassed or menaced female clients, but agents there continued to arrange private meetings.” CAA issued a statement at the time apologizing “to any person the agency let down for not meeting the high expectations we place on ourselves.” Six years later, Ormond filed her legal challenge.

And she isn’t backing down. “If we want to enact systematic change,” says Blassberger, “it requires brave individuals like Julia to come forward and publicly hold both their abusers, and the institutions that protected them, accountable.”

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