Harvey Weinstein Nears $25M Settlement, Won’t Be Required to Admit Guilt
Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, along with The Weinstein Company, has reached a likely settlement of US$25 million with some of the women who have accused him of sexual assault and harassment.
The settlement has tentative approval from all major parties involved, report Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor for the New York Times. The journalist duo originally broke the news of Weinstein’s alleged pattern of sexual predation in 2017, which ultimately saw more than 90 actresses and former employees of the Weinstein Company accuse the media mogul of a gamut of misconduct and criminal behavior, ranging from sexual harassment to rape. The news is credited with kicking off mass allegations of sexual harassment, assault, or rape against high-profile men, especially within the media and entertainment industries in the U.S. — otherwise known as the #MeToo movement.
If finalized and approved by the court, the deal would mean Weinstein neither needs to admit to the offenses nor be personally responsible for paying the 30-some women who have filed civil cases against him, report Twohey and Kantor. The settlement would be paid by the insurers of the Weinstein Company, as part of a broader settlement of US$47 million against the now-bankrupt studio’s debts and legal fees.
The US$25 million will not be evenly split among the civil suit plaintiffs. 18 of the women, who filed individual suits against Weinstein, would each receive US$500,000 or less in compensation for the discomfort or physical harm Weinstein allegedly wrought. Among the remaining women, who are part of a class-action suit against Weinstein, US$18.5 million would be distributed in varying amounts according to the severity of harm they allege at the hands of Weinstein, as determined by a court appointee.
“I don’t love it, but I don’t know how to go after him,” Katherine Kendal, 50, one of Weinstein’s accusers, told Twohey and Kantor. “I don’t know what I can really do.” She added that she didn’t want to stand in the way of the other women getting reparation.
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Kendal highlights the limited access to justice most survivors of sexual harassment and assault have. While more than 90 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and/or assault, only 30+ have filed civil suits against him, and he will face trial in a criminal court on only two counts of sexual assault in January 2020. Other women who are plaintiffs in the civil cases — many of whose allegations of criminal assault fall outside the legal statute of limitations or whose accusations describe behavior that’s not criminal but also not acceptable — also expressed disappointment at what they see as their only shot at redressal, report Twohey and Kantor. The fact that neither Weinstein nor his company would bear the cost of the payout was particularly painful, they said.
In fact, all that remains for most women who have alleged abuse of some kind against Weinstein is a vicarious outcome in the two pending criminal trials. His status in the industry, while diminished, is certainly not gone; only recently, Weinstein turned up at a comedy show in New York City; the comedian and attendees who confronted him were boo-ed and kicked out of the venue respectively. The event producers denied inviting him — but also disclaimed any responsibility for allowing an alleged predator of young actors into an event intended to promote young actors and comedians. Like most of the high-profile men accused in India’s #MeToo movement, Weinstein, after only a brief absence, appears to be on the verge of being tolerated, if not fully welcomed back, by the public, without having to shell out a dime — or even a mea culpa.