Disney Ignored Sexual Assault, Pattern of Abuse by Top Executive, Lawsuit Alleges

Disney Ignored Sexual Assault, Pattern of Abuse by Top Executive, Lawsuit Alleges

A Disney employee has filed a sexual assault and harassment complaint against Disney in connection with a former executive.

The lawsuit against Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Searchlight Pictures targets the actions of former Vice President of Distribution Nolan Gonzales.

The suit charges the companies and Gonzales with sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or battery, retaliation, negligence, disability discrimination and other grievances, including failure to investigate and prevent sexual harassment.

The lawsuit claimed that the sexual harassment she suffered was not limited to her.

“Plaintiff was not Gonzales’s first victim nor his last. Many employees, including those in management, were aware of his sexually harassing behaviors to women within the company and to others in the industry,” the lawsuit said.

“Management was incentivized to hide Gonzales’s harassment because he generated valuable revenue as the Director of Distribution. Management did not escalate concerns to human resources and created an environment in which Gonzales was free to harass women with impunity,” the lawsuit said.

“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 suit said.

The complaint said harassment began after she was interviewed for a job with 20th Century Fox in 2014 and continued until 2022, when Gonzales left the company amid other harassment complaints, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said during a 2017 conference in Las Vegas, “Gonzales stood behind Plaintiff, grinding his pelvis into her back and caressing her neck. Afterwards, he walked Plaintiff to the elevator and begged her to have sex with him in her room. She declined his advances and was rattled by the experience.”

“Plaintiff was scared and uncomfortable but did not know to whom to report Gonzales — management was already aware of Gonzales’s lascivious nature, and he constantly reminded her that he was good friends with them,” the lawsuit said.

The suit said she was given drugs and alcohol by Gonzales and later blackmailed with pictures after she had sex with him.

The suit said that “in November 2018, Plaintiff complained to Disney’s human resources about the sexual harassment and drugging, but to her knowledge her complaints were not investigated or escalated.”

The woman filing the suit, known as Jane Doe in the court papers, said Disney retaliated against her last year, using layoffs as an excuse.

“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 lawsuit said. “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 complaint was brought under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, which extended the statute of limitations on sexual assault claims through Dec. 31. The claim was filed Jan. 2, which could be too late, although Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 were court holidays, the Hollywood Reporter noted.

The lawsuit said the Jan. 2 filing was compliant.

Disney did not respond to a request for comment, according to the Los Angeles Times, which said Gonzales could not be reached for comment.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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