OAN’s Abril Elfi
4:35 PM – Thursday, January 4, 2024
Disney has been sued by an employee that is accusing the company of covering up a former executive’s alleged sexual abuse patterns.
On Tuesday, a Disney employee filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that management at the company repeatedly ignored allegations of sexual abuse against Former VP of Distribution Nolan Gonzales, even though there were several complaints against him.
The unidentified employee stated that the management created an environment in which Gonzales was “free to harass women with impunity.”
“Management was incentivized to hide Gonzales’s harassment because he generated valuable revenue,” the suit claims.
According to the plaintiff, Gonzales assaulted her several times in 2017 “using ecstasy and a date rape drug” to rape her while she was incapacitated.
She also stated that Gonzales would use “his position of power and blackmail” to force her to have sex with him.
The complaint continued stating that when she tried to cut contact with him, he threatened to release an intimate video of their encounters in an attempt to “ruin her career.”
The employee also stated that Gonzales’ history of sexual misconduct was known to management, who for years allegedly refused to conduct a thorough investigation or take punitive action against him, and that she was neither his “first victim nor his last.”
“Women were discouraged to come forward about his behaviors because management seemingly accepted Gonzales’ conduct as being part of the entertainment industry and his firing would hurt the company financially,” the complaint stated.
She maintained that in 2022, Gonzales resigned after other women began to come forward in reporting him for sexual harassment. The employee also claimed that the company demoted her in an alleged attempt to retaliate against her.
“Disney used the rolling layoffs as an excuse to demote Plaintiff and to place her on a different team where she did not manage any direct reports,” the suit states. “Previously, Plaintiff was a supervisory level employee who trained and directed three subordinates. Now, Plaintiff’s essential job duties are much smaller in scope and are similar to duties she performed at Disney ten years ago.”
The lawsuit was filed under the California Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which extended the one-year statute of limitations for lawsuits aiming to recoup losses incurred from sexual assault.
Since December 31st and January 1st were court holidays, the court may decide to move forward with the lawsuit even though the window closed on that date.
The lawsuit also names Disney entities, Searchlight and 20th Century, and brings forth claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and battery and negligence, among other claims related to the alleged cover up.
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