Disney employee accuses studio of ignoring alleged sexual assault by exec

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A Disney employee has sued the Burbank entertainment giant for allegedly failing to investigate sexual harassment and assault she allegedly suffered at the hands of a company executive.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Disney retaliated against the plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, after she reported the former vice's alleged sexual misconduct to the human resources department. -president of distribution, Nolan Gonzales.

The complainant is accusing Disney, Gonzales and others for sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or battery, retaliation, negligence, disability discrimination and other claims, including failure to investigate and prevent sexual harassment. According to the lawsuit, company executives “created an environment in which Gonzales was free to harass women with impunity.”

“Management had an incentive to hide Gonzales’ harassment because he generated valuable revenue as a distribution manager,” the complaint states. “Women were discouraged from reporting his behaviors because management apparently accepted Gonzales' conduct as part of the entertainment industry and that firing him would financially harm the company.”

The complaint alleges that Gonzales repeatedly made unwanted advances toward the plaintiff while she worked for him at 20th Century Fox and Disney between 2014 and 2022. (Disney acquired 20th Century Fox — later renamed 20th Century Studios — in 2019.)

During plaintiff's early years at 20th Century Fox, Gonzales repeatedly invaded her personal space, touched her “at every opportunity,” made sexual remarks, referred to her as his wife, and often requested appointments, according to the lawsuit. When the plaintiff rejected his advances, Gonzales allegedly reminded her how well-connected he was in the entertainment industry and threatened to stop communicating with her.

While in Las Vegas for a conference in 2017, the lawsuit continues, Gonzales thrust his pelvis into the plaintiff's back and caressed her neck at a casino before begging her to have sex with him in his hotel room. The plaintiff refused and “was shaken by the experience,” according to the filing.

After the Las Vegas conference, according to the complaint, Gonzales' “comments and touching” became increasingly “aggressive and forceful.”

Around 2017, the filing states, Gonzales allegedly began tricking the plaintiff into “ingesting illegal drugs” and pressuring her to “consume excessive amounts of alcohol so that he could sexually abuse her with limited resistance or interrogation. The lawsuit alleges that Gonzales drugged the plaintiff and then “had sex with her while she was incapacitated.”

The filing also alleges that Gonzales took “intimate” photos and videos of the plaintiff without her consent and threatened to publish them “if she did not agree to continue having sex and partying with him.” .

In November 2018, the plaintiff complained to the company's human resources department that Gonzales had sexually harassed and drugged her, “but to her knowledge, her complaints were not investigated nor escalation,” according to the filing. The lawsuit claims that “many people in management were aware of Gonzales' egregious behavior” and that the executive “retired from his position at Disney” in 2022 after other women allegedly reported his behavior.

The plaintiff was demoted in 2023 after human resources questioned her “numerous times” about Gonzales’ alleged misconduct, according to the lawsuit. She took medical leave while suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the complaint. The complainant alleges that she was demoted because she reported her sexual assault.

Disney did not immediately respond Thursday to The Times' request for comment. Gonzales could not be reached for comment.

The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.

The suit was filed about a month after a judge certified a class-action lawsuit alleging Disney paid thousands of women less than their male counterparts. THE pay discrimination case is expected to go to trial in October.

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