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“Harvey was an open secret”: Disney Heiress Abigail Disney Confirms the Mouse House Lacked the ‘Moral Clarity’ To Step Up Despite Numerous Sexual Assaults

Back in October of 2017, The New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey reported substantial allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein for the first time. And recently, Disney heiress Abigail Disney herself came out to tell the tale of Weinstein’s predatory ways.

Kaja Sokola
Model Kaja Sokola accuses Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, she was 16 at that time

Women from every facet of Hollywood, from big-shot actresses to no-name assistants, started to come forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual misdemeanors. And a woman in Poland finally found the rock that had been suffocating her for almost two decades, move. Kaja Sokola, now a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who deals with patients suffering from eating disorders and addictions, finally found the courage to stand against Weinstein and hold him accountable for all the wrongs he did to her.

A Bouquet of False Promises

It was in 2022 when Sokola first met the then Hollywood mogul at a party, where she was a guest from her then modeling agency – NEXT Model Management. She was only 16 at that time and had just recently moved to New York from Poland, all on her own. Weinstein, 50, took a liking to the young, starry-eyed, and completely new to the game, model.

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 “He said, ‘If you want to be an actress, I can see you have potential and I would like to meet with you for lunch and discuss it.’” was what the big-shot producer told Sokola. That one conversation changed the life of the girl and became a memory she would never forget.

Three days after the party, Weinstein had his driver pick up the young model from her place. They sat side by side in the car when he asked her age, and then got dropped off at his Soho apartment. There, the then 16-year-old model realized they were completely alone, and in a situation, she had not exactly anticipated.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein, the ex-Hollywood mogul has more than 80 cases of sexual assault cases against him

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Within minutes of stepping into the apartment, Weinstein had assaulted Sokola and thereafter ejaculated on the floor. The terrified girl tried to leave but was held back by the producer. And somehow that became a part of her for the next however many years that she stayed in the States.

2019, A Newly Minted Bill, and Kaja Sokola

Sokola is the youngest known victim of Weinstein. At the time of the incident, she was only 16, which gives her the window to sue her abuser under the newly minted Child Victims Act, passed by New York in 2019. The attorneys representing Weinstein say that their client has “categorically and emphatically” denied the claims made by Sokola. According to the reps,

“A timeline of events, corroborated by other evidence, including witness testimony, will refute Ms. Sokola’s allegations of sexual abuse as a minor, that were statutorily required to be alleged in her complaint in order to sue Mr. Weinstein under the Child Victims Act and not be time-barred due to the passing of the statute of limitations.”

Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz
Big-shot actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz are also Weinstein’s victims

Weinstein had told Sokola about famous actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz, and how he helped them advance their careers. And in a way gave her the inclination that he could do the same for her. The young model who had always wanted to be an actress, after the incident went into depression, developed eating disorders and became just a shell of her former self.

Also Read: ‘This is the King of Hollywood’: Kaja Sokola Says Harvey Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her When She Was 16, Claims This is How He Made Careers of Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz

An acquaintance of Sokola said,

“She came back a different person, more like introvert or maybe she was just, her head a bit in a different world, but never said anything. I could see that something is going on. I can see it from her appearance.”

A Never-Ending Cycle

Kaja Sokola
At the time of the assault, Sokola was a minor

Harvey’s constant promises of making her the next star, and failing in every turn, started to make her doubt her own abilities. Sokola says the Miramax founder would continuously keep her on her toes:

“All the time he was repeating, ‘You know what? It really is possible for you. I have an eye, obviously. I know who’s going to make it, and you will. But you have to be good to me and then I’m going to be good to you, and this is just between us. You have to remember that.’”

He had her cast on shows like Project Runway and connected her to big-shots from the fashion world. One of the many people she made contact with was Marilyn Gauthier, founder of Marilyn Agency in Paris and New York. But according to the agency that that got sold a decade earlier, they have no contact information on the then model.

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Many such incidents followed, of hollow promises and a never-ending cycle of broken hopes and dreams. And this went on for more than half a decade before Sokola quit modeling at the age of 23.

Weinstein: Hollywood’s Open Secret, says Disney

Abigail Disney
Disney heiress Abigail Disney asks the parent company to step up and take responsibility

But Sokola, and her lawyer, are not only going after Harvey Weinstein. They are also going after his enablers. The biggest ones being Bob Weinstein, Miramax, and Disney. Miramax was owned by Disney until 2005, and the Soho incident happened in 2002.

Also Read: Celebs Who Were On Hollywood’s Secret Blacklist

The Disney heiress Abigail Disney herself said that it’s high time that a company that was backing Weinstein during the peak of his predatory period, should come forward and take responsibility for not doing anything to stop him, even when they knew of everything that was going on.

“Harvey was an open secret,” Disney says, “I mean, it wasn’t even a secret. Everyone knew what Harvey was about, and that was just fine as long as everybody saw it as, ‘Well, this is just how business is done.’ Nobody had the moral clarity to step up and say, ‘Well, not here. We don’t do it that way here.’ I think Disney needs to step up. When you’ve done a wrong thing, even if it’s only by stepping back and letting something happen, that’s still a wrong thing to do. And you have to take responsibility.”

Disney, the company, has yet to comment on this, or towards the accusations made by Sokola. But for a company like them to admit to such wrongdoings, one can only hope that it happens someday. Even if they were not a part of this actively, they were still involved. And for the victims of Weinstein to even get an apology from them, would be a step towards victory.

 

Source: Rolling Stone