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Sexual Assault and Trafficking Claims Against James Dolan, Harvey Weinstein, and Azoff Companies

On January 16th, 2024, Plaintiff Kellye Croft filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Defendants James Dolan, Harvey Weinstein, and related corporations alleging  sex trafficking and sexual assault perpetrated by Dolan and Weinstein, and facilitated and funded by Dolan’s myriad corporate entities, including some connected to music manager Irving Azoff.  Although Weinstein’s lewd and predatory behavior is well documented by the many women he abused and assaulted, until now, Dolan has maintained complete ignorance and innocence of his friend’s misdeeds.  As alleged in the Complaint, not only did Dolan know  about Weinstein’s predatory behavior years before his service on the Weinstein Company Board, but Dolan also took a page from his friend’s playbook, himself using his power and influence to take advantage of a young woman for his lewd desires.

As alleged in the Complaint (read here), Ms. Croft was a 27-year-old accomplished Licensed Massage Therapist in 2013 when she was invited to serve as the masseuse for the lead singer of the Eagles, Glenn Frey.  She joined the Eagles tour, where 58-year-old Dolan—believed to be a significant source of funding for the tour—was opening for the band with his band, JD & The Straight Shot.  Ms. Croft met Dolan in the context of performing a professional massage, but Dolan quickly manipulated the vulnerable and isolated woman—who was thirty years younger than him—into a sexual relationship.  In January 2014, Dolan and the Azoff corporate entities arranged for Ms. Croft to join the tour in Los Angeles for the opening of the Forum, which was funded by Dolan and Azoff.  While Ms. Croft thought she was being flown out to continue her work as a masseuse for the Eagles, in reality, Dolan had trafficked Ms. Croft for his own sexual gratification. 

Then, as alleged in the Complaint, a few days into the California trip, Ms. Croft returned to the hotel paid for by Dolan to find Harvey Weinstein waiting—seemingly for her—by the elevators.  Ms. Croft had never met Weinstein and had only heard of him through Dolan’s boasting about his famous friend in Hollywood.  Weinstein started up a conversation with Ms. Croft and suggested that he already knew who she was because of Dolan.  Weinstein then proposed that Ms. Croft could work as a masseuse on film productions and invited her back to his hotel suite to discuss what Ms. Croft thought was an excited potential work opportunity.  Once in his hotel suite, Weinstein changed into bathrobe and tried to intimidate Ms. Croft into giving him a naked massage on his bed, at one point physically preventing her from leaving his room.  When she managed to convince Weinstein that she would give him a massage if she could just run to her hotel room and get her massage table, she thought she had escaped the dangerous situation.  Unfortunately, Weinstein followed Ms. Croft to her room, pushed her door in, and proceeded to sexually assault her. 

Following the assault, Ms. Croft immediately told Dolan what had happened.  As alleged in the Complaint, Dolan expressed no surprise—neither at the fact that Ms. Croft “happened” to run into his friend in the hotel, nor at the news that Weinstein was sexually inappropriate with her.  Instead, Dolan brushed off Ms. Croft’s report, noting that everyone knew that Weinstein “has problems” and sharing that Weinstein’s friends have been trying to get him “help.”

Dolan and Weinstein’s horrific actions left Ms. Croft irreparably harmed, and she has suffered in silence for nearly a decade.  Although it has taken many years for Ms. Croft to gather the strength and ability to bring this lawsuit, she is now empowered to face the trauma she has endured and to expose Defendants’ lascivious and fraudulent acts.

The case is brought by attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Meredith A. Firetog of Wigdor LLP, Kevin Mintzer and Laura L. Koistinen of the Law Office of Kevin Mintzer, P.C., and Omar H. Bengali of Gerard Bengali, APC.  Wigdor currently represents former New York Knicks all-star Charles Oakley in his case against Madison Square Garden emanating from his ejection from the Garden in February 2017.  In addition, Wigdor and Mintzer have represented nine other victims of Harvey Weinstein (including two that testified in the criminal trial in New York) and led the opposition against The Weinstein Company bankruptcy settlement.   More recently, Wigdor represented Cassie Ventura in her sexual assault claims against Sean Combs, and NFL coaches Brian Flores, Steve Wilks, and Ray Horton in their historic race discrimination case against the NFL.


Statement from attorney Douglas H. Wigdor, Partner at Wigdor LLP:

“Over the years, James Dolan has managed to dodge repeated issues concerning his judgment and character.  Despite being found liable by a federal jury in the Anucha Browne case, ejecting loyal fans from Madison Square Garden because they question his ownership, and falsely denying knowledge of his good friend Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior prior to serving on the board of directors of The Weinstein Company, Dolan’s power and influence has remained intact.  With the filing of today’s complaint, it is time to finally hold Dolan accountable for his outrageous conduct.”

Statement from Plaintiff Kellye Croft:

“I have suffered so profoundly because of what James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein did to me years ago, and it was not an easy decision to come forward and seek justice.  But for me, to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability.  James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein.  My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”

In response to the statement by E. Danya Perry, Statement by Douglas H. Wigdor:

“Dolan believes he is above the law.  His own lawyer originally characterized the relationship as a consensual romantic relationship – which it was not.  Our Firm has not lost multiple cases to Dolan—that is a fabrication. Most egregious, however, is Dolan’s assertion that our client has made up being raped by Weinstein when she told Dolan at the time what had happened to her and when Dolan admitted to knowing about Weinstein’s predatory behavior.  It seems as though Dolan still stands with Weinstein, a convicted felon.”

Press Coverage:

New York Times 1.16.24

Associated Press 1.16.24

Washington Post 1.16.24

CNN 1.16.24

ESPN 1.16.24