On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, The New York Times reported that disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein had reached a tentative $25 million settlement agreement with over 30 women who accused him of sexual misconduct. The allegations against Weinstein, which range from sexual harassment to rape, were first published by The New York Times in October 2017 and led to the widespread cultural reckoning known as the #MeToo movement.
The reported settlement agreement would be paid by insurance companies representing The Weinstein Company and would reportedly be part of an overall $47 million package to close out the company’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. Weinstein himself would pay nothing to the alleged victims and he would not be required to admit any wrongdoing, according to the proposed terms of the reported deal.
Among the reported terms of the agreement, $6.2 million would be divided among 18 accusers, with no individual receiving more than $500,000. Another $18.5 million would go to the plaintiffs in a proposed class action lawsuit against Weinstein, a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of New York and any future claimants, according to The New York Times report.
More than $12 million would be paid to lawyers representing Weinstein, his brother Robert Weinstein, and other former members of The Weinstein Company’s board of directors, according to The New York Times report.
The agreement would also attempt to bind any accusers who do not agree to the deal by including a provision that would prevent them from pursuing board members or the insurance companies, and would also set aside money for Weinstein’s legal fees if those accusers do not participate in the settlement, according to The New York Times report.
Wigdor LLP Founding Partner Douglas H. Wigdor and private attorney Kevin Mintzer, who represent actress Wedil David in her claims of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, did not confirm any details of The New York Times report but strongly rebuked the reported settlement terms in the following statement:
“We reject the notion that this was the best settlement that could have been achieved on behalf of the victims. It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein and it is even more outrageous that the proposed settlement will seek to bind non participating members by providing a release to the insurance companies and the directors of the Weinstein Company itself. While we don’t begrudge victims who want to settle, we plan to vigorously object to any provision that tries to bind victims who want to proceed with holding Harvey Weinstein accountable for his actions which is exactly what we intend to do.”
A separate criminal trial against Weinstein is scheduled to begin on January 6, 2020 in Manhattan, where he will face allegations of criminal sexual misconduct brought by two women.