Former model files lawsuit accusing Miramax executive of rape and sues Disney

Sara Ziff, a former model, had filed a lawsuit accusing former Miramax executive Fabrizio Lombardo of raping her at a posh New York City hotel when she was just 19. Ziff claims Lombardo lured her to the hotel by promising a meeting with Harvey Weinstein, the then-Chief Executive of Miramax. Ziff alleges the assault occurred in 2001, and she was an aspiring actress then.

Sara Ziff alleges rape

Ziff had attended a private movie screening in New York with Lombardo, who was in his early 40s, and the assault happened afterward at the hotel. The lawsuit also names Miramax, Disney, and Weinstein as defendants, claiming they were aware of Lombardo’s history of being dangerous to women at work but did nothing to prevent him from victimizing her. Ziff accuses Lombardo of sexual battery and gender-motivated violence, and Weinstein and the companies of negligent supervision.

The lawsuit was filed in New York state court on Thursday under a law passed last year creating a one-year window for adult victims of alleged sexual abuse to file lawsuits that otherwise would have been barred because the cases were too old. Weinstein’s lawyer, Imran Ansari, said that Weinstein had no knowledge or control over Lombardo’s conduct, denying any liability for the alleged conduct of another. Ziff is seeking unspecified damages for lost earnings, mental anguish, and emotional distress.

According to Ziff’s lawsuit, Lombardo and Weinstein were “very close,” Weinstein was the best man at Lombardo’s 2003 wedding. However, Weinstein’s lawyer denies any allegations against his client and says that Ziff isn’t accusing Weinstein of rape or any sexual misconduct directed at her by Weinstein.

Harvey Weinstein accused of involvement in rape

Ziff’s lawyers have said that the case’s filing is a significant step towards seeking accountability and finally moving towards healing. The case is also noteworthy for being filed under the Adult Survivors Act, which allows abuse victims to file claims for one year even if the claims have since passed beyond the statute of limitations. Miramax, Disney, and Lombardo have yet to respond to requests for comment.