Sexual abuse and harassment are widespread in the entertainment industry, where money and status make people feel as if they can do what they want and get away with using their power. After a series of allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein was published by The New York Times in 2017, many people opened up about their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment by Weinstein and other people in the entertainment industry.
A producer in the entertainment industry is a visionary, a dreamer, and a businessman. He/she takes the idea, secures rights to stories, lines up finances, and hires writers, directors, actors, and other members of the production team. The producer is the boss who works behind the scenes to get the movies made. He/she oversees the shoot, the edit, and negotiates with distributors. In the shark tank of the entertainment industry, the producer is more like the great white.
Many of the stories about producer sexual abuse are centered on influential men who have preyed on individuals in lower positions of power. For instance, a producer may ask an actor to meet with him in his hotel room to discuss projects or parts. For a person who wants to get a gig and break into the movie industry, they become easy targets for sexual abuse. What’s more, those who speak out against abuse receive retaliation and are labeled problematic, making it difficult for them to be considered for roles. Coercion and intimidation are major factors in cases of sexual abuse involving producers with immense wealth and status behind their name. And in most cases, producers don’t have human resource departments to make a complaint.
Sexual abuse is an offense no matter who committed it. If you have been sexually abused by a producer with ties to the entertainment industry, the attorneys at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm are ready to fight for you. Being sexually abuse because of gender or sexual inclinations makes a person feel helpless and affects their self-worth and dignity. Our California sexual abuse attorneys are strongly committed to challenge and defeat powerful producers. We have been doing this for decades and are willing to do it again for you. We’ll pursue justice to the fullest extent because we believe that perpetrators should be held accountable for their actions. Contact us today at 310-359-9451 for a free consultation with one of our experienced sexual abuse attorneys in California.
Producer Sexual Abuse Cases in the News
On 11 March 2020, Harvey Weinstein, who was once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for one count of third-degree rape and one count of a criminal sexual act. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault, which could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. More than 80 women stepped forward and accused him of sexual misconduct that he got away with for decades. Prosecutors portrayed him as a sexual predator who had manipulated women with promises of work in Hollywood, luring them to visit private apartments and hotel rooms on the pretext of business meetings, and then overpowering and assaulting them.
In June 2020, David Guillod, the executive producer of the movie “Atomic Blonde” was charged with sexually assaulting 4 women over a period of three years. He faces 11 felony counts, including kidnapping to commit rape and raping an unconscious person. He has been trailed by accusations since 2017 when an actress accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2012. Several women accused him of raping and penetrating with foreign objects while they were intoxicated. If convicted, the potential sentence could be 21 years to life in prison.
In May 2020,Texas-based producer Adam Donaghey was charged with the sexual assault of a child. The accuser, now in her 20s, has worked with Donaghey for over a decade.
Legal Changes Brought About by Allegations against Former Producer Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein’s charges and conviction changed our society and the law, as well. In 2019, 15 states passed new laws protecting employees from gender discrimination and sexual harassment, including extending the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits and placing limits on or banning the use of nondisclosure agreements. This makes it much harder for producers and other powerful men to protect their reputation and marginalize women once they’ve complained about sexual assault.
California was one of the states that restricted the use of NDAs. This prohibits nondisclosure agreements in settlements involving claims of sexual discrimination, harassment, and abuse based on sex. Legal experts have held that NDAs help enable sexual predators to continue to harassing and abusing women. California also expanded its statute of limitations for sex crimes to allow more time for victims to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators. These legal updates have changed things in the entertainment industry, where female employees are often at the mercy of the male-dominated power structure.
Understanding What Sexual Abuse by a Producer Looks Like
When people talk about sexual abuse in the movies, they mostly talk about rape. But sexual abuse is more than rape. It can be any nonconsensual such as:
Inappropriate touching, including hugging, kissing and groping
Oral sex or forceful penetration with foreign object or the perpetrator’s body organs
Use of alcohol or drugs to intoxicate and ensure a victim’s pliancy
Attempted sexual assault
Use of date rape drugs
Using threats against a person if he/she doesn’t engage in a sexual activity
While producers who engage in sexual abuse may do it to seek gratification, this is a type of behavior that is really about power. For PAs, actors, stunt people, and others on a set, thee abuse of power informs their fears “my reputation will be ruined”, “I could lose my job” and “I’ll never be able to find work again”. At Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, we understand the choice to remain silent about it. Sexual assault is an extremely personal attack, and we’ve effectively worked with clients whose assault left them traumatized for many years. However, if you feel you’re ready to speak up and to emerge as a survivor of sexual abuse by a producer, you won’t be alone. We’ll be there to provide a compassionate and aggressive representation to set you on the path to healing.
Long-Term Effects of Producer Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault or abuse is an excruciating and traumatic experience for victims and the damages that come with it can have lasting effects. The resulting physical and psychological damage can require decades of therapy and treatment, and there’s usually no available treatment that can fully provide victims with the health and peace required to live a normal life.
For instance, sexually assaulted children have a greater probability to become abusers themselves. Furthermore, victims of sexual abuse are more than likely to be re-victimized. The lasting effects are overwhelming can incorporate alcoholism, depression, insomnia, anxiety disorders, eating disorder, personality disorders, drug dependency, somatic disorder, and other self-destructive behavior. Additionally, victims may experience difficulty in building and maintaining future relationships, and it may be extremely difficult for victims to trust people of the same gender as their perpetrators. The manipulation and coercion that usually accompany sexual abuse can also have severe emotional and physical consequences that last a lifetime.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other emotional injuries are common and can be dreadful. What’s more, sexual abuse victims are also more likely to suffer from ill-health. Sadly, unlike the physical ones, the emotional and psychological types of injuries aren’t visible. For this reason, victims need to hire a sexual abuse lawyer with experience working with mental healthcare professionals to fully show the psychological damages from the abuse. Healthcare professionals can help breakdown the whole spectrum of issues experienced by the victims.
No Matter How Influential the Producer Who Hurt You is, You Have a Right to Come Forward
As a victim of sexual abuse, you may wonder what step to take after the assault. One of the most important steps you can take is to report the abuse immediately. You should also move away from the attacker and report to the police. Subsequently, without wasting time, they should seek medical attention in a hospital emergency room for examinations by medical experts trained to screen patients for sexually transmitted infections. They would also collect important evidence that the sexual predator may have left behind. The medical experts at the hospital may as well refer the victim to a rape crisis center or a counselor that can assist them to decide about reporting to law enforcement.
It’s natural to feel confused and scared to speak up out of fear of retaliation. It’s also common for sexual abuse victims to convince themselves that they will forget about the heinous crime and move on. These are dangerous lines of thinking and though it may be very hard for a survivor to open up about sexual abuse, doing so increases the chances of the perpetrator facing prosecution and conviction. Furthermore, reporting the occurrence to the authorities immediately it happens helps reduce the chances of the perpetrator victimizing others.
After receiving medical treatment and reporting the abuse to the police, victims are encouraged to speak to a reliable California sexual abuse lawyer who can provide the best possible legal counsel and help them file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the abuse and/or an organization.
Why Hire a Sexual Abuse Lawyer for Your Case?
While the state will prosecute the producer who hurt you in a criminal court, a lawyer will help you build a strong civil claim. The criminal case will be more geared toward sentencing while the civil action seeks compensation for the damages suffered by the victim. Hiring the right California sexual abuse law firm can make a huge difference in the outcome of your producer sexual abuse case. In addition to handling your legal cases, an attorney can help you access support services and other resources. The team at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is here to help.
When it comes to finding the right lawyer for your sexual abuse case, you want to find one who is experienced in civil law. A civil lawsuit is based on emotional and economic harm to an individual for which the defendant has legal liability. It’s worth noting that not all personal injury lawyers have the experience needed to successfully handle sexual abuse cases so you want to choose one who has experience in this type of case. At Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, we exclusively handle sexual abuse cases
With sexual abuse cases, you’ll need the right attorney on your side, a seasoned attorney in matters of civil tort law. A tort refers to a civil wrong that resulted in economic or emotional harm to a person and for which the at-fault party has a legal obligation. Not all sexual abuse attorneys understand this very well, therefore, it’s imperative when hiring a lawyer who will represent you in your case that you hire someone with experience in this kind of case. At Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, we exclusively represent sexual abuse victims and survivors throughout California. Our team has handled many high-profile, high conflict cases. We can put our knowledge and years of experience to work for you.
Here are some of the services you can expect from our seasoned sexual abuse attorneys:
Legal knowledge regarding your options for seeking compensation and knowledge about other kinds of assistance and resources that may be available to you.
Help understanding the numerous requirements for filing a sexual abuse case in California.
Representing you in litigations and appeals filed by the defendant.
Help establishing the value of your case, which is usually the amount of economic and non-economic costs incurred as a result of the abuse.
A determination of the liability of all the parties or entities that may be potentially accountable for your abuse. For instance, the production company may be held liable for trying to cover up the assault, failing to report the allegations of abuse to law enforcement, or failing to provide adequate security.
Attending all pre-trial conferences and hearings on your behalf.
Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit as required by the court.
Handling all interviews, media requests, and press conferences.
Helping you find a safe place to stay if you wish to avoid being photographed.
Ensure all negotiations remain confidential if you opt for settlement.
Keeping your identity confidential in court filings whenever it’s legally possible.
Work with your agent or manager to monitor or respond to social media posts, if applicable.
Seeking settlement from insurers that offer coverage to the abuser or the other liable parties.
Helping you collect your settlement award.
We’re not intimidated by high-profile producers or production companies and entities.
Proving Producer Sexual Abuse
Proving that sexual abuse by a producer took place involves establisgi8ng the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, showing the act was non-consensual, and establishing the plaintiff’s credibility. Physical evidence of sexual abuse or resistance as well as witness testimonies will be important in establishing the severity of the abuse and determining damages. At Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, we work with professional witnesses, including highly reputable medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses with experience in examining sexual abuse victims and determining the value of damages and future treatment.
Damages in Cases of Sexual Abuse by a Film or Music Producer
Attorneys at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understand that survivors of sex crimes don’t primarily hire us because all they want financial compensation. There are numerous other important reasons why our clients seek legal damages for sexual crimes, like justice, validation, and peace of mind. Conversely, we also understand how hard it can be to establish the costs of medical, prescription medications, therapy, and lost wages. Civil courts in California allow victims of sexual abuse to claim recovery for economic and non-economic losses. If you suffered any of the aforementioned losses as a result of producer sexual abuse, you could be eligible for compensation for:
Physical pain and suffering
Past and future health care costs
Court costs and legal fees
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Lost income or lost earning capacity
Psychological trauma and emotional anguish
While you can be compensated for the physical harm you experienced, the largest portion of compensation is likely to be your pain and suffering. When adults bring a civil action for childhood sexual abuse by a producer, he/she may sue for the costs of the prescription medication, therapy, and counseling over the years, as well as the emotional anguish and psychological distress resulting from the assault.
Time Limits for Civil Claims Involving Sexual Abuse in California
If you or someone close to you has been sexually abused by a producer, don’t hesitate to call Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm immediately so we can start building your case. The statute of limitations to file a civil claim involving sexual abuse differs based on if the victim was a child or an adult at the time of the abuse.
As provided by CA Civ Pro Code Section 340.16, the time limits for filing a civil claim for an incident that took place on or after the survivor’s 18th birthday should be:
Within 10 years from the date of the last sexual abuse incident or attempted act of sexual assault.
Within 3 years from the date, the discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an illness or injury was caused by the act, assault with intent to commit an act, attempted act, of sexual abuse by the offender against the plaintiff.
This statute of limitations applies to sexual abuse cases that occurred on or after January 1, 209. Therefore, if you or a loved one was abused before this date, you may only have 3 years from the date of the assault to file a claim.
Victims of childhood sexual assault have until the 40th birthday or within five years of discovery of the assault to bring a claim. Furthermore, any claims that would have been barred by the statute of limitations can be revived in a 3-year period. If the childhood molestation was covered up, survivors are eligible to claim treble damages in their claim.
Don’t delay filing a claim for damages after sexual abuse by a producer because it can damage or destroy your eligibility for various reasons, including:
Delay can destroy your ability to succeed because, with time, memories fade, and physical evidence can be damaged or lost. The sooner our legal team reviews your assault case, the sooner we can gather and preserve the critical evidence to help demonstrate your claim.
If you fail to file a civil claim within the stipulated time limits you may lose their right to sue and the right to compensation.
The perpetrator and everyone else who helped the perpetrator, gave a blind eye, or was negligent in their duties must be stopped immediately. Prompt action helps protect other unsuspecting individuals from being victimized.
Delay could mean you’re probably not receiving all the necessary counseling. We work closely with other professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, private counselors, and government agencies trained to help sexual abuse victims to recover from these horrendous experiences.
Find a Producer Sexual Abuse Attorney Near Me
Allegations of sexual abuse by producers in the entertainment industry are often kept secret though intimidation and duress by wealthy and influential individuals and organizations with extensive resources. It can be extremely difficult to speak out about abuse by well-known and powerful entities. But one thing you should keep in mind is that sexual assault by a producer or anyone in the entertainment industry is a crime like any other and should be punished through civil and criminal penalties. Sexual predators should not be protected from the implications of their misconduct, regardless of their status in society.
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse while working in film, music, television, or any part of the entertainment industry, we may be able to help you recover compensation for physical and emotional damages, and set you on the path to recovery. We have the knowledge and experience to discreetly, sensitively, and effectively handle your case. To schedule a free, confidential, and non-obligatory consultation, please call us at 310-359-9451 for complete our online contact form. We want to help you tell your story.