The granddaughter of the Walt Disney Company’s co-founder has accused the company of turning a blind eye to Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual misconduct, as the disgraced mogul’s youngest accuser press forward in her lawsuit naming Disney.
Outspoken heiress Abigail Disney claimed in an interview with Rolling Stone that ‘Harvey was an open secret’ when Disney owned Weinstein’s Miramax studio from 1993 to 2010.
Abigail Disney spoke out in connection with a lengthy profile of Kaja Sokola, who was just 16 in September 2002, when she says Weinstein sexually assaulted her in his New York apartment.
Sokola has one of the last pending misconduct lawsuits against Weinstein, which she filed in 2019 — and which also accuses Disney of failing to investigate or stop Weinstein.
Kaja Sokola was just 16 in September 2002, when she says Weinstein sexually assaulted her in his New York apartment
Outspoken heiress Abigail Disney claimed in an interview with Rolling Stone that ‘Harvey was an open secret’ when Disney owned Weinstein’s Miramax studio
Abigail Disney, who owes her fortune to the company her grandfather founded, but has frequently spoken out slamming it in the past, did not hold back in her latest remarks.
‘I mean, it wasn’t even a secret. Everyone knew what Harvey was about, and that was just fine as long as everybody saw it as, ‘Well, this is just how business is done,” she told Rolling Stone.
‘Nobody had the moral clarity to step up and say, ‘Well, not here. We don’t do it that way here.’ I think Disney needs to step up.
‘When you’ve done a wrong thing, even if it’s only by stepping back and letting something happen, that’s still a wrong thing to do. And you have to take responsibility,’ the heiress added.
Sokola’s lawsuit also takes direct aim at Disney, alleging: ‘During the time Disney owned Miramax, Miramax paid settlements to multiple women who were victims of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse.’
‘Based on Disney’s control of Miramax finances, Disney knew or should have known of these payments, which should have caused additional inquiry and investigation,’ the lawsuit states.
Sokola’s suit is one of the few still pending against Weinstein. Most of the suits against Weinstein were settled together in 2019 bankruptcy proceedings
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
The company emerged from the Weinstein saga virtually unscathed, despite its longtime association with the movie mogul.
But Sokol says she hopes to hold Weinstein as well as his alleged enablers accountable with her suit.
‘Nobody’s untouchable right now,’ she said, adding of those close to Weinstein: ‘I would ask, ‘Was it worth it?’ Because there’s no shadow of doubt in me that they knew.’
‘I am very curious if Harvey looks in the mirror and he still thinks, ‘All these b***hes,’ or if he has any kind of reconciliation of what he has done.’
Sokola’s suit is one of the few still pending against Weinstein. Most of the suits against Weinstein were settled together in 2019 bankruptcy proceedings.
But Sokola opted to split her claim off separately under a New York law that offered a temporary window to sue over child sexual abuse claims, even if the statute of limitation had expired.
Sokola, now 35 and working as a psychologist in Poland, says she met Weinstein when she came to New York as a child model, living away from her parents for the first time.
Kaja Sokola is seen in New York in 2010. She is now 35 and working as a psychologist in Poland
She was 16, and he was 50, when she says she met him at an event hosted by her agency, NEXT Model Management.
‘People at the event said, ‘This is the king of Hollywood, and he can make everything happen,’ Sokola recalled to Rolling Stone. ‘He said, ‘If you want to be an actress, I can see you have potential and I would like to meet with you for lunch and discuss it.’
‘Of course, I’ve heard, ‘Do not go out for dinners. People can put all sorts of drugs in your drinks.’ But a lunch seemed safe,’ she said.
As alleged in her lawsuit, Weinstein’s driver picked her up a few days later and dropped the two of them off at his SoHo apartment.
In the apartment, the suit claims that Weinstein forced her to remove her clothes while he ‘grabbed at her breasts’ before ejaculating on the floor.
Afterwards, she says he blocked her from trying to leave his home then threatened her career.
‘Harvey Weinstein made clear that refusing his sexual demands would mean giving up the opportunity to make it in Hollywood,’ the lawsuit claims.
For years, Weinstein’s attorneys have vigorously denied Sokol’s allegations, including in statements to DailyMail.com calling them ‘preposterous’ and ‘patently false.’
Weinstein’s current representatives told Rolling Stone that Weinstein did not even buy the SoHo apartment described in the complaint until 2005, three years after the alleged attack.
Attorney Imran H. Ansari told the outlet that ‘a timeline of events, corroborated by other evidence, including witness testimony, will refute Ms. Sokola’s allegations of sexual abuse as a minor, that were statutorily required to be alleged in her complaint in order to sue Mr. Weinstein under the Child Victims Act and not be time-barred due to the passing of the statute of limitations.’
In charges that stemmed from separate allegations, a New York jury found Weinstein guilty in 2020 of rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act in the first degree.
Weinstein, now 70, is serving a 23-year prison sentence in that case. He is currently being held in Los Angeles awaiting trial on additional charges.
Weinstein faces 11 felony charges in California over alleged assaults on five women, which he denies. His trial there has been set for October.
In June, he was also charged in Britain with the 1996 indecent assault of a woman in London.
It’s unclear whether that case will ever come to trial, as UK officials would have to decide whether to seek his extradition while he is already serving a lengthy sentence in the US.
In total, nearly 90 women including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek have accused Weinstein of harassment or assault.