Disney covered up top executive’s pattern of sexual abuse: suit

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By Dan Sears

A Disney worker who alleges she was raped by a top executive claims the Mouse House covered up his alleged pattern of sexual abuse, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed against Disney claims managers repeatedly refused to escalate several complaints about Nolan Gonzales, a former vice president of distribution, which created an environment in which he was “free to harass women with impunity.”

“Management was incentivized to hide Gonzales’s harassment because he generated valuable revenue,” according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday.

Neither Disney nor Gonzalez responded to requests for comment.

The plaintiff, who is suing as a Jane Doe, claimed that Gonzales raped her several times in 2017 after he drugged her with ecstasy and a date rape drug, which left her incapacitated.

The suit alleges Gonzalez also “used his position of power and blackmail” to force her to have sex with him. When she tried to cut contact with him in 2018, the exec allegedly threatened to release intimate videos of their encounters and “ruin her career.”

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Disney is being sued for allegedly covering up the sexual misconduct of an executive at the company.
Disney is being sued for allegedly covering up the sexual misconduct of an executive at the company. AP

The plaintiff also claimed she wasn’t Gonzales’ “first victim nor his last” and that his history of sexual misconduct was well-known by management. In 2018, she complained to Disney’s human resources, which allegedly refused to properly investigate or take punitive action against him for years.

“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 lawsuit said.

By 2022, the exec’s “egregious conduct” was widely known, the plaintiff alleges, adding that she overheard a “chairperson at Disney say that Gonzales was a pervert and that other women at the company felt the same way.”

Gonzales stepped down in 2022 after three other women reported him for sexual harassment, the complaint said.

The plaintiff, meanwhile, claims she was demoted last year in an alleged attempt by Disney to retaliate against her.

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Filed by an anonymous employee, the lawsuit alleges that Disney managers were aware of the exec's alleged sexual abuse.
Filed by an anonymous employee, the lawsuit alleges that Disney managers were aware of the exec’s alleged sexual abuse. REUTERS

The company instituted mass layoffs last year as CEO Bob Iger looked to slash costs, as The Post previously reported.

“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 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 also names Disney entities, Searchlight and 20th Century, and brings claims for sexual harassment, sexual assault and battery and negligence, among other claims related to the alleged coverup.

The suit seeks damages for an unspecified amount.

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