A British filmmaker has denied allegations of sexual abuse made by a woman who once did interior decorating for him, saying through his attorney that her allegations will be disproven in court.
The plaintiff’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, brought Monday against Sacha Gervasi, alleges sexual battery, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, gender violence and harassment. The woman seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Gervasi directed the 2012 film “Hitchcock;” and was the screenwriter for Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal,” as well as for “Henry’s Crime,” which starred Keanu Reeves. His attorney, Jeremiah Reynolds, released a statement Thursday denying the woman’s allegations.
“The complaint … is nothing but a desperate attempt to distract from the lawsuit already filed by my clients against (the plaintiff) for trying to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in property they paid her to purchase on their behalf and for the damage and destruction she negligently caused to their home,” Reynolds said. “As my clients’ complaint details, (the plaintiff’s) attorney told us that (the plaintiff) would not be making these charges if my clients had simply agreed to pay several hundred thousand dollars more to her — despite the fact she was already wrongfully withholding nearly half a million dollars in cash and property belonging to my clients.”
When Gervasi refused to be “shaken down,” the plaintiff filed “demonstrably false claims” about Gervasi, Reynolds said.
“We have hundreds of text messages and numerous witnesses that will disprove (the plaintiff’s) allegations in a court of law and fully vindicate Mr. Gervasi,” Reynolds said.
The plaintiff and Gervasi met through a mutual friend and dated for a few weeks in late 1990s, the suit states. The plaintiff did not see Gervasi regularly for a number of years after that, though they remained in the same social circle and were friendly, the suit states.
Matters changed when Gervasi became seriously involved with his future wife, Jessica de Rothschild, an heiress of the renowned Rothschild family, according to the suit. The plaintiff initially assumed she would be safer after Gervasi became involved with de Rothschild, so she was willing to become closer friends with both, the suit states.
“Unfortunately, Gervasi was lecherous and disgusting in his physical behavior towards (the plaintiff), even when de Rothschild was present,” the suit alleges.
Through the years after de Rothschild and Gervasi were married and during the plaintiff’s engagements as an interior designer, Gervasi regularly touched and fondled her in a sexually inappropriate way, the suit alleges.
Although Gervasi engaged in such behavior with the plaintiff openly for years, she never seriously confronted him, according to the complaint. Instead, the plaintiff became close friends with de Rothschild and the plaintiff was hired to do interior decorating for the couple, including at a Hollywood Hills home owned by Gervasi’s company, the suit states.
While the plaintiff performed work for Gervasi and de Rothschild, however, she suffered constant distress and anxiety, did not get normal sleep and the environment was negatively impacting her health, the suit states.