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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An unnamed actress filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles today against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and his former film companies, alleging that he regularly employed the so-called ``casting couch'' throughout his career to facilitate the harassment and sexual assault of women.
Weinstein, who has been accused of assault or harassment by dozens of women, has previously apologized for his past behavior, but he has repeatedly denied taking part in any non-consensual sexual activity. He did so again today.
``Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,'' according to a statement released on his behalf. ``Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.''
In the federal suit filed in Los Angeles, an actress identified only as Jane Doe 1 contends that she and ``hundreds of other female actors like her found themselves with Weinstein on the casting couch in offices, in hotel rooms or at rooms at industry functions.''
The suit alleges that The Weinstein Company and Miramax -- the two film companies co-founded by Weinstein -- ``facilitated and condoned'' the producer's behavior.
``Under the guise of meetings ostensibly to help further class members' careers or hire them for roles, Weinstein isolated plaintiff and the class members in an attempt to engage in unwanted sexual conduct that took many forms: flashing, groping, fondling, battering, sexual assault, attempted rape and/or completed rape,'' the complaint says.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was attending an audition on the first floor of a building also occupied by Miramax when a Weinstein associate invited her to meet the producer in his private office on another floor, because he was reportedly casting a film and was looking for an actress who had her ``look.'' The meeting was timed for the end of the workday.
At the meeting, Weinstein asked her to read from a script, explaining that he was looking for a new face with a ``very European look,'' the lawsuit says. They then read from the untitled script and Weinstein appeared pleased, telling her that he had several other projects she might ``be right for,'' according to the plaintiff.
``He told Jane Doe 1 that she was `exactly what I am looking for' and that she had gotten the part and told her to take the script home to study,'' the suit says. ``Jane Doe 1 placed the script in her briefcase and prepared to leave. Weinstein then told her he `just needed one more thing from you.' He asked her to disrobe and explained he needed to see her breasts, repeatedly stating, `It's just your breasts.'''
When the woman refused repeatedly, Weinstein told her to `take your dress down' and `you are going to need to expose them,''' according to the suit, which alleges that Weinstein told the actress that the role required him to review and approve of her breasts.
``Jane Doe 1, realizing she was about to be sexually assaulted, was terrified,'' the suit alleges. ``When Jane Doe 1 continued to refuse, Weinstein angrily inquired whether she knew who he was, told her he could `make' her or `break' her, and that she would `never work in this town again.'''
Weinstein allegedly continued, ``You know, I could launch your career and I can make you or I can break you,'' again demanding that she expose her breasts, then demanded the script back when she refused.
``Weinstein was belligerent and ranting,'' according to the suit. ``He told her, `Without me, you will never work again.' Weinstein then told Jane Doe 1 to show herself out and advised her she could not use the main door. He corralled her to a side door that led into a pitch-black stairwell. He then locked the door behind her.''
The suit alleges that the plaintiff, ``realizing she was locked in, banged on the door and begged to be let out. Scared and upset, she panicked, walking up and down flights of stairs, banging on doors and yelling on each landing that she was locked in -- all the while not knowing whether Weinstein would return and assault her further.''
The suit describes the woman as terrified, ``sweating through her dress'' and fearing for her safety at that point. Finally, a maintenance worker heard her yelling and let her out, immediately asking the woman if she was coming from Weinstein's floor, according to the suit.
``This assault was profoundly disturbing and life changing for Jane Doe 1,'' the lawsuit alleges. ``As a result, Jane Doe 1 has changed how she conducts her life, pursues her career, takes meetings and interacts with men both personally and professionally. She limits interactions that are one-on- one, even though those meetings are necessary to connect and bond with both professional colleagues and personal acquaintances. Her professional and personal interactions are thus limited by her fears generated by Weinstein's assault. In other words, Jane Doe 1 lost the part Weinstein offered, lost other opportunities at Miramax and TWC, and has lost other professional opportunities as the consequence of Weinstein's assault.''
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, comes a day after a complaint was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Weinstein by an unnamed actress who alleges that he sexually assaulted her.
The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe and represented by attorney Gloria Allred, is seeking unspecified damages on allegations of sexual battery, gender violence, assault, negligence and negligent retention.
The suit states that the actress met Weinstein in 2011 and had a meeting with him five years later at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel to discuss a role in the television series ``Marco Polo.'' The plaintiff alleges Weinstein held one of her wrists with one hand and masturbated with the other.
` The actress says she met with Weinstein at the hotel again in 2016, gave her the impression she had won the ``Marco Polo'' role and said he wanted to celebrate. The plaintiff agreed, but during their meeting, Weinstein threw her onto a bed after leaving to change into a bathrobe, according to the suit.
``Weinstein then used his massive weight and strength to force himself on her,'' the suit alleges. ``Plaintiff finally broke free from his grasp and immediately left the bedroom and suite.''