Female employees at The Plaza Hotel file lawsuit, claiming rape culture

Tuesday, August 08, 2017 11:23PM
Josh Einiger reports on the lawsuit outside of The Plaza Hotel.

NEW YORK - There are startling allegations against a historic New York City hotel.

Current and former female employees are filing a lawsuit claiming the Plaza Hotel forced them to endure working in a culture of rape.

"Hopefully get rid of the problem and people will, all the harassers will, get out of that place," said Crystal Washington, alleged victim.

Washington can barely bring herself to talk about the humiliation, the disgust and the fear.

The pattern of behavior she says was routine at her workplace, the world famous Plaza Hotel.

It's where "Eloise" roamed the halls, which F. Scott Fitzgerald featured in "The Great Gatsby."

Washington says she was targeted sexually by aggressors protected by management.

"Some of the most egregious behavior in 20 years of practicing law," said Andrew Goodstadt, attorney.

Goodstadt represents Washington and five other female hostesses, servers, or bartenders at The Plaza's Palm Court restaurant.

They are filing against the hotel's owners and its management company Fairmont, alleging sexual misconduct so egregious, some of it has no business even being repeated on TV.

"There are servers there and union delegates there that on a very frequent basis try to kiss their necks, rub up against their breasts," Goodstadt said. "Not only did it fall on deaf ears, but The Plaza actually blamed the victims."

Behind the scenes, Goodstadt says the iconic hotel has been overrun by what he calls a "rape culture."

And with at least one of the aggressors, allegedly a union delegate, his clients had nowhere to turn.

Washington says she's standing up for others like her.

"This will create a platform for the other women still there who are not speaking right now," Washington said. "They'll come out, and they'll have a voice that's what I want."

The Plaza is own by an Indian investment firm but managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Fairmont released a statement saying, "Any attempt at harassment and discrimination towards our colleagues and guests has not and never will be tolerated."

Due to pending litigation they had no comment on these specific allegations.
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