On Tuesday, the New York attorney general reached a $19 million (£15m) settlement in two misconduct lawsuits alleging that convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein was a serial sexual harasser and abuser. Although payment from the case, which was brought on by nine women, will create a victims’ fund for women who say they were abused by Weinstein, several lawyers said that the settlement does not bring enough justice to the many abuse survivors involved.
While the fund is awaiting approval from the US District Court in New York City, lawyers for six of the women involved in the case described the settlement as a “complete sellout” because it doesn’t hold the disgraced movie mogul or people who knew about the allegations of misconduct accountable. The suit, filed in November 2017, also accuses former directors and officers of The Weinstein Company of failing to prevent his misconduct.
“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,” said lawyers Douglas H Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer.
Both lawyers told The Guardian that the settlement was “deeply unfair” because it doesn’t require Weinstein to accept responsibility for his actions. The deal also doesn’t require him to personally pay out any money toward the settlement. Additionally, the directors defending themselves in the case for allegedly allowing this misconduct to continue will receive millions of dollars to reimburse their defence costs.
Currently, the terms of the settlement would allow for those who experienced harassment or abuse at the hands of Weinstein to submit confidential claims describing their encounters and the impact of the misconduct. Damages paid for by the fund might range from $7,500 (£6,000) to $750,000 (£600,000), reports NBC News.
Weinstein’s courtroom days are far from over. While this settlement came only three months after Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping Jessica Mann and one count of engaging in a criminal sexual act against Mimi Haley, the ousted producer still faces sex crimes charges in connection with three separate incidents in Los Angeles.
“With closure in sight on one front, Mr Weinstein remains intently focused in defending himself on all remaining legal matters, including the appeal of his criminal conviction, civil lawsuits, and the charges filed against him in LA.,” Imran Ansari, Weinstein’s lawyer, said in a statement on Tuesday night. “He continues to pursue all legal recourse available to him and remains steadfast in the defence of those matters.”
As this develops, Weinstein is serving his 23-year sentence in a maximum-security prison in upstate New York. While survivors are grappling with the lack of accountability provided by this settlement, the moment of solidarity showed how this movement to bring justice is ongoing and unwavering.
“We fought a long and gruelling battle in the courtroom,” Caitlin Dulany, one of the nine plaintiffs, said in a statement to NBC News. “Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice.”