Advertisement

Knicks chairman James Dolan accused of sexual assault, trafficking in new lawsuit with Harvey Weinstein

The woman also accused James Dolan of setting up an encounter with Harvey Weinstein, who was convicted of a number of sex crimes in 2020

A woman filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that James Dolan repeatedly pressured her into sex while he was on tour with his band in 2013 and 2014.
A woman filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that James Dolan repeatedly pressured her into sex while he was on tour with his band in 2013 and 2014. (Brad Penner/USA Today) (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect / Reuters)

Warning: The following article contains descriptions of alleged graphic sexual assault.

A woman filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday in California alleging that New York Knicks chairman and governor James Dolan pressured her into unwanted sex and then coordinated an encounter with former producer Harvey Weinstein, whom she said sexually assaulted her, too, according to The New York Times.

Kellye Croft filed her lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles, alleging that Dolan repeatedly pressured her into sex in 2013 and 2014 and that Weinstein — who has been convicted of a number of other sexual crimes in recent years and was a longtime friend and associate of Dolan’s — sexually assaulted her in a Beverly Hills hotel.

The lawsuit accuses both Dolan and Weinstein of sexual assault and unwanted touching. It also accuses Dolan of sex trafficking.

“James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein,” Croft said in a statement, via The Times.

Both Weinstein and Dolan denied the accusations separately through an attorney.

“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan. Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship,” Dolan’s attorney, E. Danya Perry, said in a statement, via The Times. “Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was asked about the allegations against Dolan on Tuesday.

“I saw the article, and I don’t know anything else about it other than I read the article, so we’ll stand by and wait to find out more information,” Silver said, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

The allegations against James Dolan

Croft said she was hired as a massage therapist for The Eagles for their 2013 tour. She was there primarily for Glenn Frey, a founding member of the band who died in 2016, but she was allowed to book massages for other members of the tour. Dolan’s band, JD & the Straight Shot, was an opening act on that tour.

At one point, Dolan booked a massage and he allegedly dragged Croft to a couch and forced her hands between his knees during his appointment, the lawsuit said. When she resisted and said she was “adamant” that she didn’t want a sexual relationship with Dolan, he allegedly pressured her into sex. Dolan allegedly later “summoned” Croft to his room multiple times during the tour, and she “felt obligated to submit to sex with him,” according to the report.

James Dolan and his band, JD & the Straight Shot, performing at The Paramount Theater in New York in 2019.
James Dolan and his band, JD & the Straight Shot, performing at The Paramount Theater in New York in 2019. (Bobby Bank/Getty Images) (Bobby Bank via Getty Images)

Croft rejoined the tour in January 2014, when the band had a residency at The Forum in Inglewood, California. She said she felt she was brought there only because Dolan “wished to sexually exploit” her. It was on that trip that Croft met Weinstein while waiting for an elevator at a Beverly Hills hotel — something she alleged was set up by Dolan.

Croft said she was invited to Weinstein’s room to discuss a job providing massages to actors on movie sets and that he said Dolan had said great things about her. Croft said she later became uncomfortable when Weinstein asked her to try on clothes, which she had just purchased, in front of him, and asked for a massage on his bed. Croft left the room but said Weinstein followed her down the hallway of the hotel in a bathrobe, forced his way into her room and started to sexually assault her. He stopped when the phone rang — it was Dolan calling — and he left the room, per the report.

Croft said she then went to Dolan’s room and told him about the assault, and he replied that he was “not at all surprised,” as Weinstein “was ‘a troubled person’ that had a lot of ‘serious issues,’ but that his friends were ‘trying to get him to address’ those issues.”

Dolan and Weinstein had been friends and acquaintances for years, and Dolan once served as a board member for Weinstein’s production company. He has long denied knowing about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and even released a song about it in 2018 with his band. A 2017 lawsuit, which was later settled, alleged that a number of men on the board of Weinstein’s company knew about his conduct and were complicit in covering it up.

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after he was convicted of a number of sex crimes in 2020. The allegations and later convictions against him helped lead to the larger #MeToo movement in the United States.

Dolan has led the Madison Square Garden Sports Company — which controls the Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers — for the past quarter-century. He also runs Madison Square Garden, the Sphere in Las Vegas and more through his entertainment companies. The Knicks were last valued at $6.6 billion by Forbes, which makes them the second-most valuable franchise in the league.