Harvey Weinstein's former personal assistant has filed a federal lawsuit against the now-disgraced movie mogul, claiming she was tasked to facilitate his sexual meetings — a job that saw her supplying him with erectile dysfunction medication and cleaning up semen from his couch.
Plaintiff Sandeep Rehal worked for the producer for a couple of years, quitting in 2015. In her lawsuit, she claims Weinstein sexually harassed her, groped her thighs and butt, and referred to her habitually as a "c**t." She was required to maintain a list of Weinstein's "girls" and arrange an apartment close to his New York office for sexual encounters.
The semen cleanup "happened" on a regular basis, according to the lawsuit. Around three times a week, Rehal would be asked to clean the couch in Weinstein's office. She was also required to give Weinstein Caverject shots, which the producer used to treat his erectile dysfunction — and she was obligated to clean up the used condom and the shot.
Eventually, in early 2015, the assistant resigned because she couldn't handle the obligations put upon her.
"As a result of the hostile work environment caused by the incessant sexual harassment, Ms. Rehal has suffered and continues to suffer from severe emotional distress, anxiety, depression, humiliation, fear, anguish and loss of self-esteem," the lawsuit states, filed by Los Angeles attorney Genie Harrison, who specializes in sexual harassment in the workplace.
A spokesperson for Weinstein has since issued a statement addressing the lawsuit, but it is similar to the previous statements put forth by Weinstein's camp in addressing the wellspring of allegations targeted at the producer.
"Mr. Weinstein categorically denies these claims and his lawyers will respond in the appropriate legal forum with evidence proving they are untrue," said the spokesperson.
Weinstein has been accused multiple times of various sexual improprieties, from harassment to abuse to rape and to using his influence in Hollywood by helping women further their careers if they agreed to have sexual encounters with him — or clinch their chances in the industry when they rebuff him.
His groundbreaking exposé has spurred a much-needed and timely conversation about the ominous under-the-table and behind-the-scenes dealings within the Hollywood landscape, where women are marginalized, paid less than their male counterparts, and are harassed routinely. It has also incited conversations about the complexities and economics of consent, and how consent is a tricky thing to understand, especially when other factors are at play.
Actors have since rallied in support of Time's Up, a campaign seeking to support survivors of sexual assault in the workplace and put a stop to it altogether.