NBA owners James Dolan, Marc Lasry sued for alleged Harvey Weinstein cover-up

James Dolan is one of two NBA owners named in a lawsuit alleging they helped cover up Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and assault. (AP)
James Dolan is one of two NBA owners named in a lawsuit alleging they helped cover up Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and assault. (AP)

Two NBA owners are listed as defendants along with several other current and former members of the Harvey Weinstein Company’s board of directors in a class-action lawsuit accusing them of willfully covering up the disgraced movie producer’s decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault.

New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, both former directors at the company, are among a dozen defendants named on the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday by six women who allege Weinstein assaulted them, per multiple media reports.

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The suit claims Dolan and Lasry “knew of Weinstein’s pattern and practice of predatory sexual conduct toward women from his personal relationship with Weinstein and his position as a director of TWC.”

“Harvey Weinstein is a predator,” the six women said in a joint statement. “[Current Weinstein Company chairman] Bob [Weinstein] knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.”

The New York Times broke news of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and assault in early October, followed by similar news reports from the New Yorker and others. Dozens of women came forward to share their stories, including actresses Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan. He has since left the company, and several police departments are investigating his alleged misconduct.

Dolan served on the Weinstein Company’s board of directors from mid-2015 to June 2016, citing his family, music and other business commitments. He released the following statement at the time:

“The company is in good shape. Harvey and Bob remain close personal friends, and I will continue to be supportive in any way I can. I wish my fellow board members continued success.”

Harvey Weinstein also issued a statement upon Dolan’s abrupt departure:

“Jim Dolan is one of my and Bob’s best friends. His insight into business has led us to grow an unbelievably successful TV division. He was the biggest impetus, years ago, for us getting into TV in a big way — we owe him for that. I appreciate all that Jim has done for the company. Bob and I are both looking forward to Marc Lasry joining the board in Jim’s place. Marc’s a brilliant businessman whose interest in companies all over the world will provide our board with valuable insight. Marc’s successes into the world of business are legendary and we will certainly profit as a company from his knowledge.”

Dolan’s friendship with Weinstein dated at least a decade earlier, when New York magazine quoted Weinstein as “a friend of Jim’s” during Dolan’s public disputes with his father and the city’s mayor.

Lasry took over for Dolan on the Weinstein Company’s board in mid-2016 and served in that capacity until this past October, when he resigned soon after the allegations against Weinstein were reported.

In addition to the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein, the New Yorker reported last month that he hired private security to collect information on his alleged victims and the journalists who endeavored to break the news in an attempt to cover up the criminal behavior.

Dolan was named in a 2007 lawsuit filed by Anucha Brown-Sanders, who alleged the Knicks owner fired her after she complained about alleged sexual harassment by former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas. She was awarded $11 million in damages from Dolan and his Madison Square Garden Company.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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