Actress Julia Ormond has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault in a new lawsuit that also accuses her agents at Creative Artists Agency, Walt Disney Pictures, and Miramax with failing to protect her and enabling Weinstein’s alleged abuse.
Ormond said the disgraced producer forced her to perform oral sex on him in December 1995 after a business dinner. Afterwards, she allegedly told her agents at CAA — Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane — what had happened, only to have them dissuade her from pressing the issue further. In the aftermath, the lawsuit says Ormond’s professional and personal life suffered dramatically as CAA sidelined her and she struggled to secure work in film and TV.
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Miramax, its parent company at the time Disney, and CAA all knew that Weinsten “was a danger to women in the entertainment industry. Yet each of these companies failed to take any action to protect Ormond from the likelihood that she too would be victimized by Harvey Weinstein, and also failed to protect her after she was horrifically assaulted.”
In a statement, Ormond said: “After living for decades with the painful memories of my experiences at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, I am humbled and grateful to all those who have risked speaking out. Their courage and the Adult Survivors Act has provided me a window of opportunity and way to shed light on how powerful people and institutions like my talent agents at CAA, Miramax and Disney enabled and provided cover for Weinstein to assault me and countless others. I seek a level of personal closure by holding them accountable to acknowledge their part and the depth of its harms and hope that all of our increased understanding will lead to further protections for all of us at work.”
Reps for CAA, Disney, and Miramax did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment, nor did lawyers for Weinstein.
As Ormand’s lawsuit notes, her career was at a high-point in the mid-Nineties when the alleged assault occurred. She had enjoyed early success on stage and on British television, before securing roles in films including The Baby of Mâcon and Legends of the Fall. She said she first met Weinstein in 1994 to discuss some potential projects, and said that he “acted appropriately during the meeting.” They remained in touch, with Weinstein often sending Ormond scripts to review and critique, whether they involved potential roles for her or not.
Around 1995 — as Ormond’s profile continued to grow with movies such as Sabrina and First Knight — she started working with Lourd and Huvane at CAA. In August of that year, according to the lawsuit, Lourd and Huvane secured Ormond and her production company a deal with Weinstein’s Miramax even though they allegedly “well knew of Weinstein’s propensity for sexually assaultive and exploitative behavior.”
Ormond subsequently moved from England to New York City, where she started living in an apartment paid for by Miramax. By the end of 1995, Ormond was in talks to star in a Miramax-produced adaptation of aviator Beryl Markham’s memoir West With the Night; she claimed Weinstein assaulted her after a meeting where the two of them discussed financing for part of the film that would be shot in Africa.
In the suit, Ormond claimed Weinstein was not interested in discussing business at dinner, insisting they discuss it later. She claimed “Weinstein purchased multiple alcoholic drinks” for her, and eventually said they could discuss business back at the apartment that Weinstein allegedly told her “he was paying for.” Ormond recalled being “too inebriated to even put her keys in the door to open it” when they returned. In the apartment, Ormond claimed Weinstein agreed to pay for the Africa trip then disappeared; she eventually found him in the bedroom where he had “stripped down to his underwear.”
“Blind-sided, Ormond made clear to Weinstein that she did not want to do anything sexual with him, but Weinstein broke down, pleaded, continued to remove his underwear and ignore her protests,” the lawsuit reads. “Lying face down on the bed, he persuaded Ormond to massage him. Shortly after, Weinstein rolled over and started masturbating, and at this point, Ormond froze. Weinstein then removed Ormond’s trousers, climbed on top of her, and continued to masturbate. He then forced her to give him oral sex. After some time elapsed, Weinstein got off her and left the apartment.”
A few weeks later, in January 1996, Ormond said she confronted Weinstein about the assault in Copenhagen, where she was shooting a movie. She said she told him his conduct was “completely unacceptable, she would not tolerate it, and he knew what he did was wrong.” Afterwards, she claims, she started to see signs that Weinstein was retaliating against her based on the way Miramax executives were treating the employees of her production company. When Ormond reached out to Lourd and Huvane for help, she told them about the alleged assault.
“In response to Ormond, neither Lourd nor Huvane expressed any surprise at what Weinstein had done, nor did they express any empathy to Ormond for what had happened, which shocked Ormond,” the suit states. “Huvane and Lourd then focused on the assault from Weinstein’s perspective, asking Ormond whether Weinstein might have believed that Ormond had consented, and suggested that it was Weinstein’s perception of the event — not Ormond’s actual lack of consent — that legally mattered.”
Furthermore, the suit says that Lourd and Huvane told Ormond that if she took her allegation to the police, “she may not be believed” and “risked further angering Weinstein.” They allegedly cautioned her as well against telling others, lest Weinstein sue for libel. Additionally, the agents allegedly told Ormond she could retain a lawyer and seek a settlement, but “emphasized that she shouldn’t expect to receive more than $100,000, which they apparently believed was the going rate for being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.”
While Ormond did not pursue any further action against Weinstein at the time, she said he “continued to retaliate against her for her response to the assault and her rejection of his hostile sexual advances.” Money for Ormond’s projects with Miramax dried up, and Lourd and Huvane unexpectedly “transferred her to a younger and less experienced agent” at CAA. When she hired a new manager several years later, she claimed CAA refused to work with him, prompting her to leave the agency.
“More than twenty-five years later, still haunted by memories of the assault and trauma, as well as the sexual assaults and rapes she learned that Weinstein committed after he assaulted her, Ormond is deeply troubled by the fact that her sexual assault was entirely preventable by Miramax, Disney, and CAA,” the suit reads.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than 100 women, including actors Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, Mira Sorvino, Salma Hayek, Rosanna Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paz de la Huerta, and Asia Argento. While his behavior, as has been alleged, was practically an open secret in Hollywood for years, it wasn’t widely divulged until 2017. In the aftermath, two criminal cases were brought against Weinstein in New York and California; he was convicted of most charges against him and is currently serving a combined 39-year prison sentence. Weinstein has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.