Harvey Weinstein victims awarded nearly $19 million in compensation

Settlement has been reached in two class action lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.

Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison in New York after being convicted of sexual assault and rape in the third degree.

The settlement is subject to approval by the district court as well as the bankruptcy court that is presiding over The Weinstein Company’s bankruptcy case.

The settlement will be used to create a victim fund from which the women abused by Weinstein can claim for damages.  The New York Attorney general commented that the fund would be distributed among “women who experienced a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination while working at The Weinstein Company, as well as sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein.”

As part of the proposed agreement, survivors will also be released from any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements and they are now free to speak freely about their experiences.

New York Attorney General Letitia James commented that the agreement “is a win for every woman who has experienced sexual harassment, discrimination, intimidation, or retaliation by her employer.”

However not all of the attorneys acting for the victims agreed with the settlement and they believe that it is unfair for a number of reasons such as the lack of  responsibility taken by Weinstein for his alleged actions and the fact that half of the funds would come from wealthy Weinstein Company Directors. It is also less than a previously proposed settlement agreement which was rejected by a federal Judge.

Weinstein continues to deny the allegations despite the overwhelming evidence. He has also claiming wrongful termination from the company that he founded.

As well as his current conviction in New York, Weinstein is facing additional sexual assault charges in Los Angeles including forcible rape, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery. There is a strong possibility that further civil claims will follow but there is a question mark as to whether those claims could be met given the on-going bankruptcy proceedings.

Nicholas Leigh, Associate, BLM

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