MSG Network Executive Chairman James Dolan not only knew of a woman’s sexual assault allegations against pal Harvey Weinstein, but “did little to console” her, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court today against both the executive and the one-time mogul.
“[James] Dolan responded to Ms. Croft’s report of sexual assault in a completely matter-of-fact tone, noting that [Harvey] Weinstein was ‘a troubled person’ that had a lot of ‘serious issues,’ but that his friends were ‘trying to get him to address’ those issues,” says a sexual assault and sex-trafficking lawsuit filed by a former massage therapist against the Madison Square Garden owner and AMC Networks boss and Weinstein.
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“Dolan intimated that Weinstein was not a ‘safe’ person but did little to console Ms. Croft or help her to report the assault to the authorities,” read the lawsuit Tuesday by the therapist, Kellye Croft, in federal court.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and also naming the Azoff Company as a defendant, the suit seeking a jury trial additionally claims that Dolan repeatedly “pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him” while his JD & the Straight Shot vanity band was on tour with the Eagles in late 2013, when Croft was employed by the tour as a massage therapist.
Filed by attorney Doug Wignor and with details familiar to anyone who has followed the various rape and assault cases against the now-incarcerated Weinstein, the four-claim filing says that the Pulp Fiction producer attacked Croft in her room at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel after a chance encounter in an elevator on January 14, 2014. “Weinstein was extremely complementary towards Ms. Croft, noting that she reminded him of actress Reese Witherspoon,” the suit says.
The flattery didn’t last long.
The “horrific attack” is described in detail in the 31-page complaint, with the assault brought to an end by a phone call. “Ms. Croft managed to wriggle away enough to grab the phone, and discovered that it was, in fact, Dolan calling her,” the document states. “She picked up the call and told Dolan that she would be with him shortly. After hearing her speak to Dolan, Weinstein backed off of Ms. Croft. He then stated to her, ‘Well, you know Jim and I are best friends. He’s going to be very disappointed that you led me on, this won’t look good for you.’ Weinstein then left Ms. Croft’s hotel room.”
After the assault by Weinstein and reporting it to Dolan, Croft left the tour.
“I have suffered so profoundly because of what James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein did to me years ago, and it was not an easy decision to come forward and seek justice,” the plaintiff said in a statement Tuesday provided by her lawyers. “But for me, to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability,” Croft added. “James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein. My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”
Croft is seeking a variety of damages in the civil case now in the federal docket.
Representatives for Dolan and Weinstein have denied the accusations.
“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan,” attorney E. Danya Perry told Deadline today regarding her client.
“Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship,” she added. “The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. These claims reflect an act of retaliation by an attorney who has brought multiple cases against Mr. Dolan and has not won, and cannot win, a judgment against him. Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”
Weinstein’s attorney had an unsurprisingly similar response.
“Mr. Weinstein vehemently denies these meritless allegations and looks forward to litigating these claims in a court of law where the truth will be revealed,” Weinstein lawyer Jennifer Bonjean said in a statement.
Harvey Weinstein, 74, is currently in jail in Los Angeles after being sentenced to 16 years for rape and other sex crimes in February 2022. That conviction came after he was sentenced to 23 years by a New York judge in March 2020 for other rape and sex crimes.
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