James Dolan is accused in a lawsuit filed Tuesday of coercing a massage therapist into an unwanted sexual relationship that included an encounter with Harvey Weinstein, who she says raped her in a California hotel room in 2014.
The civil lawsuit, filed in California by plaintiff Kellye Croft, says she was hired in 2013 to be the official massage therapist for Glenn Frey, the late singer for the Eagles, who were launching a tour largely funded by Dolan. Croft says the Madison Square Garden magnate leveraged his power and influence to initiate sexual contact; flew her around the country for his “lewd desires” in what she claims was human trafficking; and set her up for an encounter with Weinstein that ended in rape.
“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,” Croft said in a statement to TheWrap. “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.”
Dolan’s lawyer, E. Danya Perry, said in a statement to the New York Times: “There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan. Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship … We look forward to proving that in court.”
Weinstein’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean also provided the Times with a statement, saying the imprisoned movie mogul “vehemently denies these meritless allegations and looks forward to litigating these claims in court of law where the truth will be revealed.”
The complaint, filed in a Los Angeles federal district court, names Dolan, his band JD & The Straight Shot, Weinstein, and the companies of manager and music promoter Irving Azoff as defendants. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
The complaint says Croft was a 27-year-old licensed massage therapist when Dolan, then 58, was opening for the Eagles with his band JD & The Straight Shot. They met in the context of her being hired for a professional massage, but Croft says she was manipulated into a series of sexual encounters with Dolan that continued when she was flown to Los Angeles in 2014 for “his sexual gratification.”
A few days into the trip, the lawsuit says Croft returned to her hotel room to find Harvey Weinstein – whom she had not met prior – who struck up a conversation and invited her to his room to talk about working as a masseuse on film productions. From there, her story takes on a chillingly familiar ring: Like the many Jane Does who testified against Weinstein in criminal trials, Croft says Weinstein changed into a bathrobe, tried to intimidate her into a naked massage, then pursued her back to her room where he forcibly penetrated her.
The lawsuit accuses Dolan of coordinating the encounter. He and Weinstein were close friends for years; Dolan briefly served as a board member of the Weinstein Company in 2015. Croft says she immediately told Dolan what happened, but he didn’t seem surprised, telling her that everyone knew Weinstein had “problems” with women and adding that his friends were trying to get him to “address those issues.”
Weinstein, now 71, is currently serving a 23-year sentence in New York that is to be followed up by a 16-year sentence in California, meaning he is all but assured to spend the rest of his life in prison.