A group of woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault have finally agreed on a $19 million settlement as part of a class-action lawsuit.
The deal, which still needs court approval before going into effect, would also settle the New York State Attorney General’s lawsuit against him.
Harvey Weinstein was convicted of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act on Feb. 24 in his Manhattan criminal case; on March 11, he was sentenced to 23 years in state prison.
Plaintiffs accused Weinstein of being a serial sexual predator who created a hostile work environment. They also claim officers and directors at the Weinstein Company were aware of Weinstein’s predatory behavior, yet failed to stop and prevent his conduct.
Only six women were able to testify in the New York trial, but more than 100 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape.
The state Attorney General’s office said that under the deal, “women who had previously signed confidentiality, non-disclosure, or non-disparagement agreements with [The Weinstein Company] or any of the former representatives of the company related to any sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein, will be released from those clauses and free to tell their stories without fear of retribution.”
However, Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who represent several Weinstein accusers that aren’t participating in the settlement, called the deal a “complete sellout of the Weinstein survivors…”
They said in a statement that under the deal, Weinstein “accepts no responsibility for his actions” and that he “isn’t paying any money toward the settlement despite now having been found guilty in Manhattan criminal court.”
They said: “While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons,
“First, Harvey Weinstein accepts no responsibility for his actions. Second, Harvey Weinstein isn’t paying any money toward the settlement despite now having been found guilty in Manhattan criminal court. Third, the director defendants, who we allege had knowledge of Weinstein’s behavior, will be receiving millions of dollars to reimburse their defense costs,
“Fourth, if this settlement were approved by the courts, survivors who do not wish to participate in settlement but would prefer instead to hold Harvey Weinstein accountable, will be unable to purse the multi-billion dollar insurance companies and the directors because they will receive legal releases,
“And Fifth, the class action lawyers will be seeking millions of dollars in fees for an objectively unsuccessful result. We are completely astounded that the Attorney General is taking a victory lap for this unfair and inequitable proposal, and on behalf of our clients, we will be vigorously objecting in court.”