Sandeep Rehal, Harvey Weinstein's Ex-Assistant, Is Suing Him For Sexual Harassment
The slew of allegations of sexual assault and predatory behavior against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein continues. On Thursday, news broke that Weinstein's former assistant has sued him for sexual harassment. Weinstein denies the allegations, and his spokesperson tells Bustle in a statement:
Mr. Weinstein categorically denies these claims and his lawyers will respond in the appropriate legal forum with evidence proving they are untrue.
According to a report from BuzzFeed News, Sandeep Rehal has filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, alleging that Weinstein would regularly dictate emails to her while naked, and that she sometimes had to clean up following his "sexual encounters."
Weinstein, 65, has been varyingly accused of sexual harassment, assault, and rape by more than 80 women in the past several months, many of them high-profile celebrities and actresses. He has similarly denied all allegations of "nonconsensual sex."
The lawsuit includes lurid allegations about the duties Rehal had to perform to work as Weinstein's assistant, including taking his dictation while he was naked, cleaning up semen on his couch while he was out of town, and throwing away his used condoms. Rehal also alleges that Weinstein touched her legs and buttocks without her consent, and that he frequently called her "pussy" or "c*nt."
The suit alleges that Rehal was working in a "hostile work environment created by Harvey Weinstein," and also names his brother, Robert, and The Weinstein Company human resources chief Frank Gil as condoning that environment. It states that Weinstein told Rehal he was a "tough guy to work for" when she took the job, but that the reality of the situation ended up far exceeding her expectations.
"As Ms. Rehal soon learned, Harvey Weinstein’s assistants were expected to be available at all times; there was no boundary between Harvey Weinstein’s work life and personal life," the suit says.
"Much of Ms. Rehal’s work as an employee of TWC involved catering to Harvey Weinstein’s sexual appetites and activities, and catering to his demeaning and often abusive family members. Among Ms. Rehal’s myriad tasks was listening to Harvey Weinstein’s calls, reading and responding to his emails, managing his doctors’ appointment, managing his drivers, doing his shopping, and even getting him clean underwear."
In one section, the suit describes Rehal being forced to clean up Weinstein's semen and used condoms, amid what it characterizes as his "prolific" sexual encounters:
Another “task” Ms. Rehal was forced to do to aid Harvey Weinstein’s sexual encounters was to clean up the semen on the couch in Harvey Weinstein’s office. This happened on a regular basis, three or so times a week when Harvey Weinstein was in New York. ... She also had to pick up his used condom, and clean up rooms before housekeeping personnel would do their work.
The entire document can be viewed here. Rehal is suing for damages, alleging ongoing economic and/or monetary harm, and violations of the New York City Human Rights Law. The amount of money she's seeking, according to the suit, would be determined at trial.
The torrent of allegations against Weinstein have had a massive cultural impact, setting off the #MeToo movement that's brought about heightened national awareness of issues of sexual predation, harassment, and assault. The movement has caught fire not just in the world of entertainment, but also journalism, politics, and the broader society. The backlash has not been isolated to the United States, either ― it's spurred outcry, protest, and calls for accountability around the world.