The Disney heiress says the company ignored Weinstein’s sexual misconduct

The Disney heiress says the company ignored Weinstein’s sexual misconduct

The granddaughter of the co-founder of The Walt Disney Company has accused the company of ignoring Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct as the disgraced mogul’s latest accuser presses ahead in her lawsuit against Disney.

Outspoken heiress Abigail Disney claimed in an interview with Rolling Stone that “Harvey was an open secret” when Disney owned Weinstein’s Miramax studio from 1993 to 2010.

Abigail Disney spoke out in connection with a lengthy profile of Kaja Sokola, who was just 16 in September 2002, when she said Weinstein sexually assaulted her in his New York apartment.

Sokola has one of the last pending misconduct lawsuits against Weinstein, which she filed in 2019 — and also accuses Disney of failing to investigate or stop Weinstein.

Kaja Sokola was just 16 in September 2002 when she said Weinstein sexually abused her in his New York apartment

Outspoken heiress Abigail Disney claimed in an interview with Rolling Stone that

Outspoken heiress Abigail Disney claimed in an interview with Rolling Stone that “Harvey was an open secret” when Disney owned Weinstein’s Miramax studio

Abigail Disney, who owes her fortune to the company her grandfather founded but has often spoken out in the past, didn’t hold back with her recent comments.

“I mean, it wasn’t even a secret. Everyone knew what Harvey was about, and that was fine as long as everyone saw it that way: “Well, that’s how business is done,” she told Rolling Stone.

“No one had the moral clarity to step up and say, ‘Well, not here. That’s not how we do it here.’ I think Disney needs to step up.

“If you’ve done something wrong, even if it’s just by stepping back and letting something happen, it’s still wrong to do it. And you have to take responsibility,” added the heiress.

Sokola’s lawsuit also targets Disney directly, alleging, “While Disney owned Miramax, Miramax paid settlements to several women who were victims of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse.”

“Based on Disney’s control of Miramax’s finances, Disney knew or should have known of these payments, which should have led to additional inquiries and investigations,” the lawsuit reads.

Sokola's lawsuit is one of the few still pending against Weinstein.  Most of the lawsuits against Weinstein were settled collectively in the 2019 bankruptcy filing

Sokola’s lawsuit is one of the few still pending against Weinstein. Most of the lawsuits against Weinstein were settled collectively in the 2019 bankruptcy filing

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from .

The company emerged from the Weinstein saga virtually unscathed, despite its long association with the movie mogul.

But Sokol says she hopes her lawsuit will bring Weinstein and his alleged aides to justice.

“No one is untouchable right now,” she said, adding of those close to Weinstein, “I’d ask, ‘Was it worth it?’ Because there’s no doubt in my mind that they knew.”

“I’m very curious if Harvey looks in the mirror and still thinks, ‘All these b***hes’, or if he has any kind of reconciliation with what he did.”

Sokola’s lawsuit is one of the few still pending against Weinstein. Most of the lawsuits against Weinstein were settled collectively in the 2019 bankruptcy filing.

But Sokola chose to separate her lawsuit under a New York law that provided a temporary window for child sex abuse claims, even after the statute of limitations had expired.

Sokola, now 35 and working as a psychologist in Poland, says she met Weinstein when she came to New York as a child model and was separated from her parents for the first time.

Kaja Sokola can be seen in New York in 2010.  She is now 35 and works as a psychologist in Poland

Kaja Sokola can be seen in New York in 2010. She is now 35 and works as a psychologist in Poland

She was 16 and he was 50 when she says she met him at an event held by her agency NEXT Model Management.

“People at the event were like, ‘This is the king of Hollywood and he can make anything happen,'” Sokola recalled to Rolling Stone. “He said, ‘If you want to be an actress, I see that you have potential and I’d like to meet you for lunch and talk about it.’

“Of course I heard, ‘Don’t go out to eat. People can put all kinds of drugs in your drinks.’ But lunch seemed safe,’ she said.

As alleged in her lawsuit, Weinstein’s driver picked her up a few days later and dropped them off at his SoHo apartment.

At the apartment, the suit claims Weinstein forced her to undress while he “grabbed her breasts” before ejaculating on the floor.

Afterwards, she says he prevented her from leaving his home and then threatened her career.

“Harvey Weinstein has made it clear that denying his sexual demands would mean giving up an opportunity to make it in Hollywood,” the lawsuit reads.

Weinstein’s attorneys have vigorously denied Sokol’s allegations for years, including in statements to calling them “absurd” and “manifestly false.”

Weinstein’s current representatives told Rolling Stone that Weinstein did not purchase the SoHo apartment described in the complaint until 2005, three years after the alleged attack.

Attorney Imran H. Ansari told the outlet that “a timeline of events supported by other evidence, including testimony, will refute Ms. Sokola’s allegations of sexual abuse as a minor that were required by law to be alleged in her complaint.” Sue Mr. Weinstein under the Child Victims Act and not statute of limitations.’

On counts based on separate allegations, a 2020 New York jury found Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual offense.

Weinstein, now 70, is serving a 23-year sentence in the case. He is currently being held in Los Angeles awaiting trial on additional charges.

Weinstein faces 11 charges in California for allegedly assaulting five women, which he denies. His trial there is scheduled for October.

In June he was also charged in the UK for the indecent assault on a woman in London in 1996.

It’s unclear if that case will ever go to court, as UK officials would have to decide whether to seek his extradition while he’s already serving a lengthy sentence in the US.

In all, nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek, have accused Weinstein of molestation or assault.