On March 9, 2020, seven surviviors of sexual abuse by disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein published an Open Letter calling on New York’s Attorney General Letitia James to renegotiate the terms of a proposed “global settlement” that would resolve all civil sexual harassment and sexual assault cases against Weinstein.
“We have been told that your office supports the proposed civil settlement of all Weinstein-related sexual harassment and sexual assault cases,” the settlement reads in part. “We ask you to reconsider. The settlement is insulting to all of the survivors in that it represents a small fraction of what should be paid by Mr. Weinstein, his former directors and officers, and large multi-billion dollar insurance companies.”
The letter was signed by Zoë Brock, Alexandra Canosa, Rowena Chiu, Wedil David, Dominique Huett, Zelda Perkins and Kaja Sokola. Wigdor LLP and private attorney Kevin Mintzer represent all of the women, with the exception of Ms. Brock and Ms. Canosa.
The letter addressed several deficiencies in the proposed settlement agreement. Not only does the putative agreement allow Weinstein and the former board of directors of The Weinstein Company who allegedly enabled his misconduct to avoid contributing any of their own money towards the settlement, but a large percentage of the settlement amount originally intended for victims would instead be paid to lawyers for Weinstein, his brother Robert Weinstein and other former members of the Company’s board.
In addition, the letter states that the proposed settlement “will have a profoundly negative impact on those who voluntarily choose not to settle” because it provides a release of claims to insurers of The Weinstein Company, thereby leaving survivors with nothing left to recover from “the empty shell of the Weinstein Company or what they have been repeatedly told is the inevitable personal bankruptcy of Harvey Weinstein.”
The seven women urged the Attorney General James to renegotiate the terms of the proposed deal to address these shortcomings: “We implore you to personally intervene to ensure that a fair settlement is reached in which all victims are afforded the level of justice and dignity they deserve.”
BREAKING: Seven survivors of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein have published an Open Letter calling on @NewYorkStateAG Letitia James to renegotiate the proposed civil settlement "so that the victims' fund adequately compensates victims." #HarveyWeinstein https://t.co/rp9qi7DBar
— Douglas Wigdor – Wigdor Law (@WigdorLaw) March 9, 2020
Statement from Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer:
“We hope that he Attorney General, as the chief law enforcement officer of the state of New York, finds the courage to stand up to Harvey Weinstein and his associates that we believe enabled him so as to ensure a fair settlement that provides adequate compensation for those that want to settle their claims and an unencumbered path forward for those survivors that want their day in court.”