New York’s Adult Survivors Act (ASA), the #Me Too law, signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, has unexpectedly entangled numerous high-profile figures, including celebrities and political leaders, in allegations of sexual misconduct, assault, and rape, some of which date back to the 1980s. This law was ironically aimed at targeting former President Donald Trump, but its broad scope has implicated various other prominent individuals.
The ASA suspends the statute of limitations on sexual assault complaints, allowing survivors to file suits without any time limit on when the alleged incidents occurred. Notably, on November 24, 2022, E. Jean Carroll filed a lawsuit against Trump for battery and defamation, marking the first day the law took effect. Trump has denied the accusations, describing them as a hoax. This lawsuit is scheduled for trial in January, coinciding with the early stages of the 2024 Republican primary process.
The ASA has seen a surge in legal actions against well-known personalities such as actors Jamie Foxx, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bill Cosby, musicians Justin Sane and Axl Rose, and others. Actress Julia Ormond has filed a lawsuit against Disney and the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), claiming she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in 1995 and alleging that CAA executives retaliated against her for bringing up the incident.
Additionally, several high-ranking Democrats have been implicated under the ASA. Lawsuits have been filed against New York City Mayor Eric Adams, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, and state Senator Kevin Parker.
Since the enactment of the ASA, over 2500 lawsuits have been filed during the one-year window provided by the law. Lawmakers who sponsored the ASA, including Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, both Democrats from Manhattan, have expressed support for extending this window by another year. They are also considering a permanent change to New York’s statute of limitations for sexual assault.
The far-reaching implications of the ASA highlight the complexities and unforeseen consequences of legal reforms intended to address historical injustices. The law’s impact extends beyond its original target, affecting a broad spectrum of individuals across various sectors, from entertainment to politics.