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Toronto Court Rules Against Disney in Weinstein Harassment Case

A Canadian court has ruled against the Walt Disney Co. in a lawsuit accusing the studio of turning a blind eye to Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

A model from Toronto, identified only as Jane Doe, filed suit against Weinstein, Miramax and Disney in November, alleging that she had twice been sexually assaulted by Weinstein while working on a film in 2000. Disney has sought to extricate itself from the suit, claiming that though Disney owned Miramax at the time, Weinstein enjoyed autonomy and Disney was not responsible for overseeing his conduct.

In order to advance its motion, Disney has sought to file three employment agreements under seal. Disney alleges that it cannot properly make its arguments without referring to the agreements, and that it cannot publicly disclose the agreements due to a confidentiality provision.

But on Tuesday, Master P. Tamara Sugunasiri ruled that Disney must disclose the contracts.

“Disney has not met the high threshold set by our Supreme Court of Canada to curb the open court principle,” Sugunasiri wrote. “The public shall have access to any materials the parties choose to file with respect to the stay motion.”

Though the documents remain under seal for now, the court’s ruling notes that Disney is identified as a “co-obligor” along with Miramax in the Weinstein contracts, arguably indicating an employment relationship between Disney and Weinstein.

Disney has sought to exclude the press and public from a court hearing on the matter, according to a motion filed by Doe’s attorneys.

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