James Dolan, billionaire owner of the New York Knicks and executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Sports Corp, has been accused of sexual assault and trafficking alongside convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein in a new lawsuit filed Monday.
Allegations Against Dolan and Weinstein
The federal lawsuit was filed by Kellye R. Croft, a massage therapist who alleges that Dolan and Weinstein sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions from 2010-2012 while coercing her to perform sex acts through threats and false promises of work.
Specifically, Croft claims that in 2010, Weinstein invited her to his hotel in Los Angeles under the guise of discussing potential work opportunities. However, Weinstein allegedly greeted Croft naked under a bathrobe and demanded a massage before forcing oral sex.
Over the next two years, Croft alleges that Dolan and Weinstein continued to coerce her into providing massages that turned into sexual assaults through threats to her career and physical threats.
Responses from Dolan and Weinstein Camps
Attorneys for both Dolan and Weinstein firmly denied the allegations in the lawsuit.
Dolan’s attorney, Brad D. Rose, called the claims “fabricated” and designed only to “extract money from Mr. Dolan and MSG.”
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s spokesperson called the allegations “uncorroborated” and designed to “defame Mr. Weinstein for financial gain.”
The NBA also released a brief statement saying they are monitoring the situation.
“We are closely monitoring the legal process and will defer comment until that process is resolved,” said NBA spokesman Mike Bass.
Background on Harvey Weinstein
The allegations represent the latest in a long list of sexual assault and harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein dating back decades. Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in 2020.
Dozens of actresses and industry figures have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct going back to the 1990s, sparking the global #MeToo movement focused on exposing sexual abuse by powerful men.
|Weinstein sexual harassment & assaults exposed in media reports
|Weinstein arrested in NY on rape charges
|Convicted of rape & sexual assault, sentenced to 23 years in prison
|Loses appeal to overturn conviction
|Accused alongside James Dolan in new lawsuit
What Comes Next
The lawsuit alleging coercion and sexual assault by James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein promises legal drama in the months ahead.
Dolan and Weinstein will likely aim to get the lawsuit dismissed quickly. However, the detailed allegations and involvement of Harvey Weinstein may bring intense public pressure on Dolan as owner of the New York Knicks.
Some analysts have even suggested Dolan could come under pressure from the NBA to sell the Knicks franchise if the allegations gain further credibility. The NBA forced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team in 2014 after recordings of him making racist comments surfaced.
For now, Dolan continues business as usual with the Knicks and his other sports & entertainment properties under Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. But this lawsuit represents another dark cloud over the controversial Knicks owner in what has been a turbulent tenure in New York.
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