Harvey Weinstein, who faces a slew of sexual misconduct accusations, has reached a tentative £20 million ($25 million) settlement with dozens of alleged accusers. The tentative agreement would settle nearly every civil lawsuit brought against Weinstein, according to the New York Times.
As part of the deal, Weinstein won't have to admit any wrongdoing or pay for the settlement out of his personal finances. Instead, the money will be paid by insurance companies representing Weinstein's former production studio, The Weinstein Company, which is now in bankruptcy proceedings. The deal will not be finalised until it is approved by the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
More than 30 actresses and former employees accused Weinstein of varying offences — from rape to sexual harassment. The settlement includes up to £36 million ($47 million) in total payouts, but only £5 million ($6.5 million) will go directly toward survivors, and none will receive more than £378 ($500,000) individually. Weinstein's team — including his lawyers, his brother, and former board members — is expected to receive nearly £9 million ($12 million dollars).
In a statement sent to Refinery29, representatives of the Time's Up Foundation point toward the astonishing lack of accountability for the nearly 80 survivors who came forward against Weinstein. "This settlement is more than a math problem — it’s a symptom of a problematic, broken system that privileges powerful abusers at the expense of survivors."
But Weinstein is still facing serious jail time — criminal charges against the disgraced film producer are still moving forward in New York state and he will be tried for these separately from the civil charges.
The details of Weinstein's case continue to unfold over the past year and a half and survivors of assault continue to come forward with stories about him. Katherine Kendall, one of the accusers involved in the civil settlement, alleges that a nude Weinstein chased her around his apartment in 1993 after she showed up for a business discussion. She told the New York Times that she was disappointed in the deal but didn’t want to block others claimants from compensation.
“I don’t love it, but I don’t know how to go after him,” she said. In addition, many of the accusers in the settlement have run out of time for further action as their cases fall outside the statute of limitations.
Meanwhile, lawyers Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintze who represent two women involved in the settlement said they reject the notion that this was the best deal they could have achieved. In a statement sent to Refinery 29 they wrote, “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.”
On Wednesday, Weinstein’s bail was raised from £756k ($1m dollars) to £3m ($5 million dollars). He arrived at his Manhattan bail hearing clutching on to a walker that his lawyer said was "necessary" as Weinstein is set to undergo back surgery later this week for injuries allegedly sustained in an August car crash. The image of a limping Weinstein has drawn comparisons to convicted sexual predator Bill Cosby's suddenly frail appearance in the latter days of his trial.
The settlement's details, and Weinstein's apparent refusal to take account for any of his actions or allegations show a deep systematic problem in the handling of this case that will hopefully not be reflected in Weinstein's upcoming criminal case.