Two years after being accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women, Harvey Weinstein has reportedly reached a tentative settlement that will allow him to pay damages without ever admitting that he sexually harassed or assaulted anyone.
According to the New York Times, the more than 30 actors and former employees of Weinstein and the Weinstein Company who have filed lawsuits alleging rape and sexual harassment would split a $25 million settlement pending the approval of at least two judges. The number seems low, since Weinstein and his company are estimated to be worth around $300 million. However, according to the Times the discrepancy could be because the accusers are now among several creditors trying to get money out of the bankrupt company:
“Because the business is in bankruptcy proceedings, the women have had to make their claims along with its creditors. The payout to the accusers would be part of an overall $47 million settlement intended to close out the company’s obligations, according to a half-dozen lawyers, some of whom spoke about the proposed terms on the condition of anonymity.”
When women band together to accuse a powerful man of sexual misconduct, the argument from many is that they looking for a payout. But with so many accusers, the payouts aren’t actually that big. Last year, a proposed buyout of the Weinstein Company proposed a $90 million victim’s fund. Now, that number has significantly dwindled. Of the $25 million, $12 million with be used to pay attorneys for Weinstein, his brother Bob, and the board of their company. Of what remains, 18 accusers will split $6.2 million, with no accuser receiving above $500,000. Another portion, $18.2 million will be doled out to accusers in a class-action suit based on the severity of their allegations. None of the accusers will get close to the $1 million Rose McGowan claims a Weinstein associate offered her for keeping quiet about an alleged sexual assault.
Two of the accusers have walked away from the negotiations, and a separate $1 million has been set aside for their payout, which limits their potential compensation. This civil suit represents the only legal recourse for many of the accusers, whose claims are either beyond the statute of limitations or are accusing Weinstein of misconduct, rather than anything illegal.
However, these negotiations won’t affect the criminal sexual assault charges against Weinstein brought by two other women, one of whom claims Weinstein raped her and another who claims he forced oral sex. Ashley Judd has also stated publicly that she plans to take Weinstein to trial. The criminal sexual assault trial is set to begin in January.