Woman ‘to make astonishing allegations about sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein’

A woman is set to make “astonishing” allegations of “horrendous sexual abuse” by disgraced American film producer Harvey Weinstein at a tribunal hearing in England, judges have been told.

The woman says she was sexually assaulted and harassed by Weinstein, 68, who was given a 23-year jail term at a court hearing in New York in March after being convicted of rape and sexual assault.

She also says people and companies associated with Weinstein “knowingly helped” him carry out “unlawful acts of assault and harassment” and has brought employment tribunal claims against them in England.

Three Court of Appeal judges considered a preliminary round of that employment tribunal litigation on Tuesday.

A barrister leading the woman’s legal team told the remote hearing that she had been an “aspiring filmmaker”.

Jonathan Cohen QC told the hearing the woman was making “some of the most serious and astonishing allegations a tribunal will ever see”.

He said she was alleging “horrendous sexual abuse by Mr Weinstein” and sexual harassment of a “truly shocking nature”.

Mr Cohen said an employment tribunal had yet to consider the case fully.

Lord Justice Underhill, Lord Justice Bean and Lord Justice Phillips said they would dismiss an appeal against a preliminary ruling by tribunal judges against one of the men in the litigation.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons and was referred to as YZ at Tuesday’s hearing, says Tim Sarnoff and others are liable for “knowingly helping” Weinstein to sexually harass her.

Mr Sarnoff, who was one of Weinstein’s business associates, denies her claim.

He argued that because he lived and worked in the US he had no connection with Britain, so a British employment tribunal had “no territorial jurisdiction” in the claim against him.

Two judges ruled against him at employment tribunal hearings and three appeal judges on Tuesday said they would dismiss his appeal against the most recent of those decisions.

Mr Cohen said the woman was a “young, aspiring filmmaker” who had been employed as an assistant to Weinstein.

“In that employment, she suffered sexual harassment of a truly shocking nature, consistent with that for which Mr Weinstein has been convicted and sentenced in the USA,” he added.

“A critical part of YZ’s claim in the employment tribunal is against those in control of the entities employing both her and Mr Weinstein, one of whom is Mr Sarnoff.

“The equalities legislation makes liable those who ‘knowingly help’ the discriminator.

“It is not difficult to see how that concept applies with force on the present facts.”

Diya Sen Gupta QC, who led Mr Sarnoff’s legal team, said he “strenuously” denied the woman’s claims.

She said he denied them “in fact and in law”.