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NY launches civil rights probe into Weinstein Co.

October 23, 2017

New York's top prosecutor has announced a civil rights probe into The Weinstein Co. following allegations of sexual assault against its co-founder. Prosecutors have requested the studio's harassment complaint records.

Harvey Weinstein
Image: Imago/Future Image/D. Van Tine

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation on Monday into producer Harvey Weinstein's studio following a stream of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against the producer.

The prosecutor's office issued a subpoena to The Weinstein Company, requested the studio's records on formal and informal sexual harassment complaints and legal settlements as well as criteria for hiring, promoting and firing employees.

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The investigation seeks to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken at the New York City-based company.

"No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear," said Schneiderman. "If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know."

Outcry over assault allegations

The company fired its co-founder, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, earlier this month after reports from The New Yorker and The New York Times exposed decades of sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Over three dozen women, including Lupita Nyong'o, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have accused the producer of harassment. Actresses Asia Argento and Rose McGowan have accused Weinstein of rape.

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Many of the women say the studio and other Hollywood executives helped cover up the abuse.

Police in London, Los Angeles and New York City are already investigating Weinstein over allegations of abuse that occurred in those cities.

Last week, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Weinstein, while the Producers Guild of America has begun a similar process.

The scandal has prompted social media users worldwide to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse under the hashtag #MeToo.

Read moreAs #MeToo reaches 'highest political levels,' #IDidThat stokes debate

rs/cmk (AP, dpa)