Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has reached a $44 million deal to settle a number of lawsuits, including a class-action suit brought by alleged survivors of rape and sexual assault. The will use $14 million to pay legal fees of Mr. Weinstein’s associates, including his former board members; the remaining $30 million will go to settle claims by survivors who allege sexual crimes going back decades. The names of the women involved in the settlement have not been released but the deal was reached in order to settle a multitude of civil suits against Weinstein in the US, UK and Canada,.
The tentative settlement won’t affect a criminal case against Weinstein in New York City charging him with rape and other sex crimes brought on by two women. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and that trial is scheduled for September. In a separate case, Actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women to come forward, tweeted that her legal case against Mr Weinstein was ongoing and that she intended to take him to trial.
The deal was reached during bankruptcy proceedings for Weinstein Co. The sprawling negotiations encompassed attorneys for Weinstein, Weinstein Co., the company’s unsecured creditors and the New York attorney general’s office. The New York attorney general’s office sued Weinstein Co. last year after revelations surfaced showing his studio, Weinstein Company, knew for at least two years that he had been paying off women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault. They initially pushed for a victims’ fund of up to $90 million before the plans faltered after the company went bankrupt. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which would be paid through insurance funds, no party would admit wrongdoing.
In October 2017, the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the first women to come forward. The accusations include forcing women to massage him and watch him naked. He also allegedly promised to help some women advance their careers in return for sexual favors. Many of the instances occurred during meetings that agents, studios and assistants set up for Weinstein under the guise of a potential movie role. The common theme in the accusations is that the harassment took place early in their careers and they kept quiet out of fear that they would destroy their budding careers. Fear of Harvey Weinstein’s influence helped keep his treatment of women shrouded for years with a network of aggressive publicists and lawyers helping.
The film producer issued an apology acknowledging he had “caused a lot of pain” – but denied allegations that he harassed female employees over nearly three decades. The scandal surrounding Weinstein led to the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women accusing high-profile men in business, government and entertainment of sexual abuse and harassment.