A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved a settlement of more than $17 million for dozens of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Under this agreement, these accusers would submit claims, and the amount they receive would depend on the type of allegation.
“We’ve worked closely with many survivors of Harvey Weinstein who desired a resolution that would provide a safe and confidential process for recovery, and today we’re proud to share that the bankruptcy court approved a plan that provides just such a process,” said attorney Beth Fegan, who represented many women in the settlement process.
“This bankruptcy plan guarantees that Harvey Weinstein’s survivors will have the opportunity to be heard in a safe and confidential process. Although there will never be enough compensation or redress to right these wrongs, we’re immeasurably honored to represent our brave and resilient clients who, in the face of adverse rulings, continued to advocate for a fund for all survivors,” Fegan also said in a statement. “This plan truly leverages the voices of survivors, and as evidenced by the majority support of the settlement, we’re heartened to have reached a solution that empowers each woman to do what is right for her.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James commented in an email statement: “The Court has affirmed the will of the survivors of convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein: a comprehensive survivors’ fund. My office has been committed to helping secure the maximum award for as many survivors as possible, including compensation for women with claims of sexual harassment and abuse outside the statute of limitations, and for women who do not wish to be publicly identified.”
“The settlement also releases all women from any nondisclosure agreements they may have signed related to Weinstein’s misconduct, a critical measure to ensure that survivors can publicly and freely share their stories. From day one, my office has always prioritized the right for survivors to have the opportunity to seek justice on their own terms, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.”
The figure and settlement process have also caused significant controversy, however.
The Weinstein Company declared bankruptcy in 2018, and this money is being set aside as part of its liquidation plan.
Under this plan, eligible accusers can’t pursue legal claims against officers at the Weinstein Company — even if these women wanted to opt out of the deal. And if accusers want to pursue legal claims against Weinstein, they would only be entitled to 25 percent of whatever might have been available to them under this agreement. And the company had already said in 2018 that it was releasing people from NDAs related to Weinstein’s misconduct, when announcing its bankruptcy.
Moreover, this controversial settlement is for women who accused Weinstein of misconduct during the time period when he was at the Weinstein Company, from its founding in 2005 until its collapse. So, the terms of this settlement — including release from NDAs — don’t apply to women with allegations of misconduct solely before 2005.
It is possible for accusers eligible for this settlement to appeal the plan. Some accusers who would be covered under the bankruptcy court settlement are continuing to litigate their civil lawsuits against Weinstein.
Doug Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who have represented several Weinstein accusers, said in a statement: “We look forward to continuing to fight on behalf of survivors who seek to hold Harvey Weinstein and his corporate enablers accountable.”
Weinstein’s attorney, Imran H. Ansari, defended the settlement.
“While there are those who continue to rail against the settlement, that the court found acceptable today, the practical reality is that outside the settlement the plaintiffs face an uncertain financial recovery, with the Weinstein Company bankrupt, and Mr. Weinstein, who denies the claims against him, with a current and future financial state that is far from healthy,” Ansari said in a statement. “Those yelling loudly seem to ignore, for whatever reason, that many parties have wanted this settlement to succeed, importantly, it is not just the Weinstein defendants, but the plaintiffs themselves, who likely recognize that it is the only route to a realistic recovery.”
This post has been updated throughout.