Disney Asks To Be Removed From “Disturbing and Deplorable” Sexual Assault Lawsuit

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Warning: This article includes descriptions and verbatim text from a Disney lawsuit regarding SA.

The Walt Disney Company has asked to be dismissed from a lawsuit from actress Julia Ormond regarding a sexual assault she alleges she suffered from notorious film producer and Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein in 1995, claiming that there was not sufficient evidence of negligence on its part.

Julia Ormond in the film 'First Knight.' Disney, CAA, and Harvey Weinstein are currently accused in a lawsuit filed by Ormond.
Credit: Sony

Julia Ormond, best known for films like First Knight (1995), Inland Empire (2006), and the critically acclaimed AMC drama Mad Man, filed a lawsuit in October seeking damages against Harvey Weinstein, Miramax, the Walt Disney Company, and the Creative Artists Agency in October. The lawsuit states that, after the alleged sexual assault, Weinstein (who is charged with battery) used his power in Hollywood to sabotage her career. Miramax and Disney are accused of negligent supervision and retention, while the CAA is accused of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty (per BBC).

Related: “Me Too” Hits Disney: Mogul Crumbles as Disturbing Allegations, Lawsuit Arise

Now, Disney has filed with the New York Supreme Court to be dropped from the lawsuit, stating that there is not sufficient cause to believe that the company had knowledge of the sexual assault. The court filing from Disney and its law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore states:

“Accepting the allegations in the Complaint as true, Harvey Weinstein’s alleged misconduct is disturbing and deplorable. But the question is whether Plaintiff’s allegations are sufficient to state a claim for negligent supervision against TWDC. They are not, with respect to any of the four elements of that cause of action. Therefore, TWDC respectfully requests that the single claim against it be dismissed.”

Creative Artists Agency logo
Credit: CAA

In a similar filing, the CAA has also requested to be dismissed from Julia Ormond’s lawsuit, claiming that it had no reason to know the assault occurred and that she did not tell the CAA or her agents Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane until the October filing. The CAA filing states:

“It is now widely known that Harvey Weinstein committed multiple sexual assaults and that his deplorable conduct had a devastating impact on many women. But prior to Plaintiff’s alleged assault by Weinstein in December 1995… CAA did not have that knowledge about Weinstein. CAA thus had no reason to believe there was any risk to Plaintiff in arranging a business dinner with Weinstein. As Plaintiff acknowledges in her Complaint, she had a year-long productive working relationship with Weinstein before she ever hired CAA, and Plaintiff had previously met with Weinstein in person without incident. CAA has deep sympathy for Plaintiff as one of the women who, as alleged, suffered at Weinstein’s hands. However, in suing CAA, Plaintiff places blame on the wrong defendant.”

Related: Disney Lawsuit Claims Company Stole Famous Mascot, Demands It Axed

Julia Ormond in Mad Men, on the phone
Credit: AMC

The New York Supreme Court has not yet responded to Disney or CAA regarding the lawsuit. Harvey Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence at Mohawk Correctional Facility in New York after being convicted of rape, forced oral copulation and third-degree sexual misconduct.

The Walt Disney Company, as one of the largest media corporations in the world, is regularly the target of high-profile lawsuits, as well as filing many of its own. However, this particular lawsuit is one of the most dramatic and disturbing that it has faced in some time and could have long-ranging repercussions on its image as a family-friendly company.

Inside the Magic reached out to Disney for comment, but has not heard back by the time of publishing.

RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available: 1-800-656-4673.

Inside the Magic will continue to update with new events and court decisions as the lawsuit progresses.

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