Pompey owner Michael Eisner has been named among executives who ‘knew or should have known’ about sexual abuse allegedly carried out by Harvey Weinstein.
The claim comes after new court documents filed on behalf of 10 women tell how the film producer allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old model with dreams of becoming an actor.
Mr Eisner, 76, was mentioned by name as part of a broadened civil law suit accusing a series of companies and individuals for failing to stop Weinstein’s behaviour.
The 66-year-old movie mogul was arrested in May and more than 100 women have accused him of sexual assault and harassment, including rape in some cases.
Filed by law firm Hagens Berman, the documents call the firms the ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’ and include Disney, of which Mr Eisner used to be the CEO.
The Pompey boss has links to Weinstein going back more than 20 years, after film company Miramax – owned by Weinstein and his brother Bob – was sold to Disney for $60m in 1993.
According to a number of UK news sources, the documents allege ‘during the time Disney owned Miramax, Miramax paid settlements to multiple women who were victims of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse’.
They continue: ‘Based on Disney's control of Miramax finances, Disney knew or should have known of these payments, which should have caused additional inquiry and investigation.
‘Moreover, given that Eisner had assigned eyes and ears from Disney to watch over Harvey Weinstein – and those persons had knowledge of Harvey Weinstein's conduct, Eisner and Disney knew or should have known of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse.’
Mr Eisner bought 100 per cent of Portsmouth Football Club last year for £5.67m, vying to invest an additional £10m.
He is among nearly 30 named defendants in the recently-filed lawsuit, who include Miramax, the Walt Disney Company, figures from the board of the Weinstein Company, its employees and Weinstein and his brother Bob.
After allegations against Weinstein surfaced in 2017, Mr Eisner condemned them on Twitter and claimed to have once ‘fired’ him and his brother.
He said: ‘Fired Weinsteins because they were irresponsible, and Harvey was an incorrigible bully. Had no idea he was capable of these horrible actions.’
Weinstein’s civil lawyer Elior Shiloh has not commented on the latest lawsuit and Mr Eisner has not publicly responded to his inclusion in it.
However, Weinstein’s criminal lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said: ‘This claim is preposterous and eventually, just as others have been exposed to be liars, this uncorroborated allegation that is almost 20 years old will be shown to be patently false.’