A former model and aspiring actress, Sara Ziff, has filed a lawsuit against Fabrizio Lombardo, a former Miramax executive and close associate of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, claiming that he lured her into a fake meeting at a luxurious New York City hotel and raped her when she was just 19 years old.
According to the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed late Thursday, Ziff, now 40, alleges that in 2001, Lombardo, who headed Miramax in Italy and Europe, deceived her into attending a bogus meeting with Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein at the Mercer Hotel. Lombardo then sexually assaulted her, the lawsuit states.
The events leading to the assault started with Lombardo inviting Ziff to a "Black Hawk Down" screening at the Miramax office in Tribeca. At the screening, Weinstein and another young woman were also present. Weinstein barely acknowledged Ziff, only inviting her to eat some food that was available, as per the suit.
After the movie, Lombardo invited Ziff for a drink at the SoHo hotel, telling her that Weinstein, the other woman, and possibly Bob Weinstein would be joining them. However, these claims turned out to be false, and it was in this context that the alleged sexual assault occurred.
Upon arriving at the hotel, Lombardo took Ziff directly to the penthouse, where she felt uneasy and tried to maintain her distance from him, as described in the court documents. Ziff resorted to smoking cigarettes by the window in an attempt to keep away from Lombardo.
At the time, the Italian man, who was approximately 40 years old, initiated unwanted physical contact by touching Ziff's thigh. She immediately pushed his hand away and informed him that she had a boyfriend, according to the legal filing. Despite her protests, the lawsuit contends that Mr. Lombardo persisted in his advances.
Lombardo has been connected to Harvey Weinstein in the past as both a friend and an executive at Miramax. As the head of Miramax in Italy and Europe, he held a significant position within the company. His close association with Weinstein raises concerns about the extent to which he may have been involved in or aware of Weinstein's own misconduct.
Sara Ziff's lawsuit against Lombardo is the latest in a series of allegations against those associated with Harvey Weinstein and Miramax. As more survivors come forward, it becomes increasingly important for the public to acknowledge and address the culture of sexual misconduct and abuse within the entertainment industry.
The lawsuit serves as a stark reminder that the fight for justice and change is far from over. As more allegations come to light, the entertainment industry must continue to confront and challenge the toxic culture that has allowed sexual predators to flourish in its midst.
Sara Ziff's lawsuit against Fabrizio Lombardo is a significant development in the ongoing battle against sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry. The allegations against Lombardo, a former Miramax executive, underscore the importance of holding those in power accountable for their actions. It is crucial for the industry to face its past and ensure that such abuses do not continue in the future.
Ziff, the founder of the model advocacy group Model Alliance, filed her case under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which allows victims of abuse to file claims during a one-year period even if the claims have since passed beyond the statute of limitations.
“Thanks to the Adult Survivors Act, it is not too late for survivors like Sara Ziff to seek justice,” Ziff’s lawyers, Kevin Mintzer and Laura Edidin, said in a statement. “We intend to see that she gets it.