After months of wrangling, infighting and uncertainty, a controversial $45 million settlement was reached between Harvey Weinstein, his former film studio’s board and several women who have accused the disgraced movie mogul of sexual misconduct, according to attorneys involved in the negotiations.
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Delaware still must formally approve a deal that would bring an end to one chapter of the scandal that rocked the entertainment industry, decimated the Weinstein Co. and propelled #MeToo into a global movement.
The tentative settlement does not, however, resolve a separate criminal case against Weinstein in New York over multiple accusations of sexual assault. That criminal case will go to trial next month.
Under terms of the deal, about $32 million will be allocated to the accusers, unsecured creditors and former Weinstein Co. employees; and about $12.5 million will be earmarked to pay legal fees of the studio’s directors and officers, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to comment.
Insurance companies, potentially including Chubb Ltd. and AIG, are expected to make the payment on behalf of Weinstein Co. The parties are expected to sign off on the settlement.
The New York-based Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and later sold off most of its assets to private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners for $289 million.
A tentative settlement had been reached during a bankruptcy court hearing in Wilmington, Del. in May, but it faced a number of hurdles.
The announcement exposed months of behind-the-scenes infighting as negotiations were underway, characterized by disagreements that threatened to torpedo the deal at numerous junctures.
Attorneys for two of the accusers rejected the proposed settlement outright.
They held out, saying the proposed settlement offered inadequate compensation to the victims while enabling Weinstein and the directors of Weinstein Co. to evade accountability or liability.
The Hollywood producer behind such Oscar-winning hits as “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and “The King’s Speech” was fired from his company in October 2017 after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct.
In addition to a class-action suit of alleged victims and former Weinstein Co. employees, there are at least 18 women with individual suits against Weinstein for sexual misconduct, assault or harassment.
Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with women who have accused him of misconduct.
Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer said their client Wedil David, who alleges that Weinstein raped her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in 2015, had rejected the deal. They released a statement earlier this year calling the process “fundamentally flawed and unfair,” and criticized the terms as “inadequately compensating victims while providing millions of dollars to the ultra-wealthy directors of the Weinstein Company … and their big firm lawyers.”
Aaron Filler, a lawyer representing actress Paz de la Huerta, has said his client was satisfied with the outcome.
“With the large number of victims filing civil suits against Harvey Weinstein, the total personal funds in Mr. Weinstein’s possession — divided among all the victims — results in an amount per victim which does not begin to reach the scale of the damage he caused,” Filler said.
The settlement, Filler said in an earlier interview with the Times, was a fair compromise. “It’s been a long, complex process, and we do feel this settlement provides a measure of justice, though it’s not everything one might hope for,” he said.