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Verdicts & Settlements

Controversial Harvey Weinstein Settlement Will Pay $19m to Dozens of Women

— July 3, 2020

Attorneys for some women say the settlement amount is far too small for the scope of Weinstein’s crimes.

Harvey Weinstein has reached a $19 million settlement with dozens of women who accuse the disgraced filmmaker of sexual misconduct.

According to CBS News, the tentative settlement was announced Tuesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Chicago-based attorney Elizabeth A. Fagan. In total, Weinstein and his former studio’s board would pay approximately $18.8 million, with settlement scaled in accordance with impact. Individual payments would range from $7,500 to $750,000.

“After all the harassment, threats, and discrimination, these survivors are finally receiving some semblance of justice,” James said in a statement. “Women who were forced to sign confidentiality agreements will also be freed from those clauses and finally be able to speak.”

Accusations against Weinstein, says CBS, began surfacing in 2017. Numerous A-list celebrities accused Weinstein of sexually abusing—or attempting to sexually abuse them—in exchange for high-profile roles.

Weinstein threatened women, especially those who were just beginning their careers as actresses or  models, who did not comply with his demands with professional ruin.

Salma Hayek—who was not a party to either class action–says she repeatedly rejected Weinstein’s advances. The producer had, allegedly, asked Hayek for a variety of sexual favors, from showering with him to allowing him to perform oral sex on her.

While Hayek was established enough to rebuff Weinstein, he still attempted to take revenge by interfering with her production of the biographical film Frida. Hayek, writing in another New York Times article, said that Weinstein eventually coerced her into doing a nude scene she had not wanted to perform.

Numerous Hollywood actresses, including Salma Hayek (pictured), have accused Weinstein of using his power within the film industry to coerce sexual favors. Hayek claims she was forced to partake in a nude scene in the movie ‘Frida’ after rejecting Weinstein’s advances. Image via Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara via Wikimedia Commons. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Many of Weinstein’s other victims, who were not named in the class action, reported similarly coercive misconduct. But for actresses just beginning their careers, Weinstein’s promises of reward—and threats of retaliation—were impossible to ignore.

The eventual backlash against Weinstein gave rise to the #MeToo movement, in which women from all walks of life shared stories of endured sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct on social media.

Caitlan Dulany, one of the named plaintiffs, told James’ office that it is important to hold Weinstein accountable.

“We fought a long and grueling battle in the courtroom,” Dulany said. “Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice.”

However, attorneys for other Weinstein victims say that the settlement amount is absurdly small, given the scope of Weinstein’s crimes.

“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 attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer.

“The proposed settlement is a complete sellout of the Weinstein survivors and we are surprised that the attorney general could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels,” they added. “While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons.”


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