A woman has accused New York Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden Entertainment CEO James L. Dolan of pressuring her into unwanted sex and arranging an encounter with Harvey Weinstein, who is also accused of sexually assaulting her, according to the New York Times.
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In a federal lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, Kellye Croft accuses both Dolan and Weinstein of sexual assault and forcible touching. Because Dolan facilitated Croft’s transport to California “for purposes of sex induced by force, fraud, or coercion,” the Knicks owner has also been accused of sex trafficking.
Douglas H. Wigdor, a lawyer for Croft, said, “With the filing of today’s complaint, it is time to finally hold Dolan accountable for his outrageous conduct.”
Croft was hired to work as a massage therapist for the Eagles while on tour in 2013. Dolan, whose band was opening for the Eagles, booked a massage with the then-27-year-old and allegedly dragged Croft to a couch and forced her between his legs. Despite her “adamant” resisting and claims she did not want a sexual relationship, Dolan allegedly pressured her into sex. The Madison Square Garden owner then “summoned” Croft to his room multiple times while on tour and, according to court documents, “she felt obligated to submit to sex with him.”
According to the lawsuit, Croft rejoined the tour in Los Angeles in January 2014. While the Eagles had a residency at the Forum, the suit states that the real reason she came was because Dolan “wished to sexually exploit Ms. Croft.”
Croft says she met Weinstein on the same trip in a meeting allegedly coordinated by Dolan. Weinstein allegedly invited Croft to her room. There, she claims Weinstein asked if she was “the massage therapist” and said that Dolan spoke highly of her. Weinstein allegedly asked Croft to try on clothes in front of him and asked for a massage in his bed. Croft claims that when she walked back to her own room, Weinstein followed her in a bathrobe. According to the lawsuit, Weinstein forced his way into Croft’s room and sexually assaulted her.
“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan. Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship,” E. Danya Perry, a lawyer representing Dolan, 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.”
Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Weinstein, said that his client “vehemently denies these meritless allegations and looks forward to litigating these claims in court of law where the truth will be revealed,” per the Times.
Croft allegedly told Dolan about the encounter with Weinstein. According to the court papers, Dolan said he “was not at all surprised,” adding that 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 did not comment on Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct until he wrote a song about it with his band, JD & the Straight Shot, in 2018 called “I Should’ve Known.” Dolan later called the lawsuits against Weinstein “ridiculous” in an interview with ESPN.
Weinstein was convicted of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sex act in New York Supreme court in February 2020, then convicted of forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and forcible rape in a California court in December 2022. The cases carried a combined sentence of 39 years in prison.