National Women’s Group Calls on NBA to Censure Owners Involved in Weinstein Scandal
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The National women’s group, Women United Now, is calling on the National Basketball Association (NBA) to censure Marc Lasry and James Dolan, both long time personal friends, Weinstein Company board members, and owners of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks.
Dolan and Lasry were both named in The New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and implicating Weinstein Company Board Members for creating a culture of sexual harassment and victimization of women. The Harvey Weinstein scandal arose in October 2017, when over 100 women came forward with claims of sexual assault and abuse against Weinstein.
James Dolan is no stranger to the culture of sexual harassment. Dolan, the executive chairman of Madison Square Garden and owner of the New York Rangers, has been embroiled in a sexual misconduct suit before. In 2007, both Dolan and his company were ordered to pay out $11.6 million in punitive damages after a jury ruled that former Knicks coach and current New York Liberty president Isiah Thomas had sexually harassed a former team executive and then fired her when she refused his advances.
Although Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry served on the board at The Weinstein Co., he told CNBC that he had “no knowledge” of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault.
Lasry, chairman and CEO of Avenue Capital in New York, is a defendant in a class-action lawsuit alleging he and other board members as well as Weinstein, Weinstein’s brother Bob, The Weinstein Co. and Miramax were part of a “sexual enterprise” that enabled Weinstein’s misconduct through a “pattern of racketeering activity,” according to the New York Business Journal.
“Harvey Weinstein is a predator,” the plaintiffs - Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt - said in joint statement.
They added: “The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.”
Weinstein often praised Lasry, who joined the Weinstein board in New York Knicks’ owner, James Dolan’s place.
"Marc’s a brilliant businessman whose interest in companies all over the world will provide our board with valuable insight," Weinstein stated. "Marc’s successes into the world of business are legendary and we will certainly profit as a company from his knowledge.”
Lasry served the Weinstein Company until this past October, when allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein broke. Dozens of women — including actresses Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan — have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Fortune reported that Lasry and Harvey Weinstein were neighbors in Westport, Conn. They also both were major fundraisers for the Democratic Party, Fortune noted
This systematic pattern of powerful men marginalizing women is why Women United Now was formed. Founder Catrena Carter states, “No has always meant no. Now, we have to go further. No more excusing inexcusable behavior toward women. No more allowing those who protect monsters like Harvey Weinstein to go unnamed. No more looking the other way when billionaires choose predators over victims. It’s time to stand together and fight.”
Carter is a 30-year veteran of both the civil rights and women’s movements and has led successful, grassroots efforts around the country by getting women involved in the political process, most recently the “Vote or Die” movement that defeated accused sexual predator, Roy Moore.
Women United Now is a next phase of the #MeToo movement. As their message states, now it’s time to #DemandRespect. In addition to releasing ads, the group will also be launching grassroots effort to shine a light on the structure of powerful and successful men that allow abuse to go unchecked and unreported.
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