British actress Kadian Noble has filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein brothers and the company they founded, arguing that Harvey Weinstein’s alleged assault of her at the Cannes Film Festival and the company’s complicity in it constituted sex trafficking.
The suit argues that Harvey Weinstein groomed Noble overseas, and used “force, fraud or coercion” during his sexual encounter with the actress.
“Harvey Weinstein was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity in his hotel room because of his promise to her of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf,” states Noble’s 11-page federal complaint, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The case could have major consequences for Weinstein because several of his alleged assaults on actresses occurred abroad.
The suit argues that The Weinstein Company and Harvey Weinstein’s brother, Bob Weinstein, knew of his sexual encounters and helped accommodate them. Employees even had code words communicating what they expected to occur, the lawsuit states. A woman targeted by Weinstein would be referred to as an “FOH,” or “Friend of Harvey,” according to the suit.
“Upon information and belief, the code word among TWC employees ‘FOH,’ meant ‘Friend of Harvey,’ and referred to a young woman who had participated in sex in exchange for a role ... in an upcoming project,” the complaint states.
“TWC employees knew to ‘take care’ of the FOHs. Multiple TWC employees participated in the recruitment or enticement of Kadian into a victim of a commercial sex act,” the suit states. According to the complaint, one producer told Kadian on the phone while she was in a hotel with Weinstein that she needed to be a “good girl and do whatever” Weinstein wanted for future work.
The lawsuit accuses Weinstein of “knowingly recruiting or enticing Kadian, offering her something of value, knowing that he would use this offer as a means to defraud, force or coerce her into a sexual encounter. Harvey Weinstein ultimately forced Kadian into sexual acts.”
Kadian says Weinstein pounced on her when she met him at a hotel during the Cannes Film Festival in February 2014. The actress thought they were going to discuss a role for her. Instead, according to Kadian, Weinstein grabbed her breasts. When she rebuffed him, he “forcibly” pulled her into the bathroom, where he pulled down her shirt, unbuckled his pants and masturbated as he rubbed against her and then forced her hand on his penis, the lawsuit states. He then allegedly told her his “people would be in touch.”
The company violated U.S. sex trafficking law by “benefiting from, and knowingly facilitating, the venture in which Harvey Weinstein traveled in foreign commerce to recruit or entice female actors into forced or coerced sexual encounters on the promise of roles,” states the lawsuit.
The Weinstein Company did not reply to a request for comment from HuffPost. A representative for Harvey Weinstein said that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
Weinstein has been the target of several lawsuits in the U.S., including a class action suit, after scores of women accused him of sexual assault. Another lawsuit was filed Monday by an unnamed female film executive in London alleging sexual assault. It’s the first civil suit against Weinstein in the U.K., Deadline reported.
Read the lawsuit here.