Harvey Weinstein's alleged settlement with his accusers isn't sitting well with a lot of people.
The New York Times reported Wednesday the disgraced producer reached a tentative settlement for $25 million "with dozens of his alleged sexual misconduct victims, a deal that would not require the Hollywood producer to admit wrongdoing or pay anything to his accusers himself, according to lawyers involved in the negotiations.”
Over 80 women have come forward accusing Weinstein of sexual assault, sexual harassment and/or misconduct. He has denied all claims of nonconsensual sex.
According to the Times report, the sum will be paid by insurance companies representing the producer’s former studio, the Weinstein Company, and Weinstein himself won't pay anything. More than $12 million is said to go towards legal costs for Weinstein, his brother Bob and other former members of their company’s board. Eighteen of his alleged victims will purportedly split $6.2 million, with no individual getting more than $500,000. A representative for Weinstein isn't commenting on the settlement or its financial details, noting that there is no finding of wrongdoing.
Time's Up, a woman’s advocacy group formed in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, condemned the alleged terms on Wednesday afternoon. "If this is the best the survivors could get, the system is broken," the group tweeted.
Attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who represent two of Weinstein's alleged victims that walked away from the deal, issued 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."
Some of the 18 women who agreed to the settlement spoke to the Times about their decision. Katherine Kendall, 50, an actress who alleged Weinstein chased her around his New York apartment naked in 1993 said she was disappointed by the terms but didn’t want to block fellow plaintiffs from getting compensation.
"I don’t love it, but I don’t know how to go after him," she said in an interview. "I don’t know what I can really do."
Former model Zoe Brock, who accused Weinstein of sexually inappropriate behaviour, said agreeing to the settlement made her feel "defeated and hopeless" since neither Weinstein nor his former board members would be required to pay the alleged victims. However, she said she found no better legal alternatives.
Attorney Genie Harrison, who represents a former assistant of Weinstein's who is part of the settlement, echoed similar sentiments.
"I don’t think there’s a markedly better deal to be made," Ms. Harrison said. "We have really, truly done the best we can under the circumstances, and it’s important for other victims to know this, come forward and be able to get the best level of compensation we were able to get."
According to the Times, some of Weinstein's high-profile accusers like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek are not part of the settlement. Neither is Ashley Judd, who has said she intends to take Weinstein to trial. Yahoo Entertainment reached out to a representative for Rose McGowan but did not immediately receive a response. The settlement is pending court approval.
Weinstein is awaiting trial in New York City on five charges of rape and sexual assault stemming from two incidents. Prosecutors allege that he raped a woman in 2013 and performed a forcible sexual act on another woman in 2006. He pleaded not guilty. The Oscar winner's bail was increased on Wednesday following repeated violations of his home ankle monitor system.