Harvey Weinstein's film studio knowingly tolerated his alleged sexual assaults for years, New York's attorney-general said Monday, one day after filing a lawsuit against the disgraced Hollywood producer that jeopardised the sale of his company.
"It is clear to us that the company's management was complicit in this behaviour," Eric Schneidermann said.
The leadership of The Weinstein Company were legally required to handle the dozens of complaints and put a stop to the alleged behaviour, Schneidermann said.
"They knew what was happening, they know how pervasive it was," he said. "And yet they did nothing."
Schneidermann filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the state of New York on Sunday against the former Hollywood producer, his company and brother after a four-month investigation uncovered "new and egregious" sexual misconduct.
The suit prevented the sale of Weinstein's firm to a group of investors fronted by businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet at the last minute.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Yucaipa Capital and investment firm Lantern Capital were backing up Contreras-Sweet and ready to pay $US500 million.
A deal which would remove Weinstein and his brother Bob from the company but leave the management structure otherwise intact is "unacceptable," Schneidermann said.
Any deal to buy the company's assets must also ensure victims receive adequate compensation, and the deal that was due to go through did not meet that standard, he added.