Former Lionsgate Lawyer Tells of 'Dehumanizing' Harassment
When the curtain went up on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, everyone already knew the story behind the Hollywood casting couch.
Powerful producer takes advantage of ingenue. It was shocking mostly because there were so many, including famous actresses who had kept it to themselves for years.
That was Act One in the #MeToo movement. In Act Two, a powerful Hollywood lawyer takes advantage of an associate attorney. It is not for general audiences.
Wayne Levin was general counsel of Lionsgate Entertainment, the studio behind "The Hunger Games," "Twilight" and "Mad Men." He left in 2017, officially for "health and personal reasons."
Now another Lionsgate attorney says Levin assaulted her and treated her like a slave. She left two years ago with a confidential $2.5 million settlement agreement, but decided to speak out to help others caught in the same situation.
"This has to stop, and that's why I am speaking out," said Wendy Jaffe, former executive vice president of legal affairs at Lionsgate.
In interviews with the Wall St. Journal and the Associated Press, Jaffe described Levin's "dehumanizing" sexual misconduct. She endured for years because she feared her career would be over if she complained.
Jaffe started working for Levin at the studio in 2000. She left in 2016, but never said anything about the abuse until the end.
She told a company executive that Levin spanked her, groped her, and said he wanted to offer her as a sexual gift to friends. There were more ugly details, but Levin's lawyers denied everything and the company settled.
Lionsgate has not responded to Jaffe's allegations in the media. However, the studio said it takes sexual harassment seriously and follows with appropriate remedial action.
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