Nine women who sued movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his production company for sexually abusing and raping them are set to receive $19 million in settlement, the New York Attorney General's office announced on Tuesday. The deal was brokered by the New York Attorney General's office in its class action lawsuit against Weinstein's production company. However, the deal needs to be approved by a federal judge and bankruptcy court.
The payout will now resolve a lawsuit filed against Weinstein, his production company, The Weinstein Company, and his brother in 2018. The tainted film producer is serving a sentence in prison in New York after being convicted of committing a criminal sex act of the first degree and rape of third degree.
Finally, Some Justice
The $19 million payout is part of an attempt to resolve two lawsuits. The first lawsuit was filed by the New York Attorney General's office in 2018 that alleged Weinstein of "maintaining a hostile work environment". The second was a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf women who were sexually assaulted and raped by the 68-year-old film producer. The suit filed in 2017 also alleges former officers and directors of The Weinstein Company for failing to prevent his sexual misconduct.
"Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company failed their female employees. After all the harassment, threats, and discrimination, their victims are finally receiving some justice," Attorney General Letitia James said on Tuesday in a statement. The settlement will create a victim's fund for all women who say that they were sexually abused by Weinstein.
Besides the payout, the agreement will wipe out all confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements Weinstein's victims were made to sign with his production company. For years, assistants working for Weinstein "were exposed to and required to facilitate" sexual encounters for him "as a condition of employment," James added.
Also under the agreement, victims will be allowed to submit confidential claims describing their experiences and the impact of the misconduct. Payments for damages are likely to range between $7,500 and $750,000.
Not Everyone's Happy
One of the attorneys representing six of the women who accused Weinstein of sexual abuse labeled the proposal a "sellout" that didn't require Weinstein or any of his officers or other people who knew of his misconduct to accept responsibility or pay anything from his own pocket. "We are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels," said Douglas Wigdor of Wigdor LLP.
The payout comes three months after Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting former 'Project Runway'production assistant Miriam Haleyi and raping former actress Jessica Mann. During the trial, prosecutors argued that Weinstein misused his power in Hollywood to make dozens of women his prey for more than three decades with the promise of launching their careers in exchange of sexual favors besides subjecting his female employees to demeaning tasks like procuring his erectile dysfunction injections and cleaning up after his sexual encounters.