A group of women who sued movie producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual misconduct reached a nearly $19 million tentative settlement Tuesday.
New York Attorney General Leticia James announced late Tuesday that the settlement, which is part of a class action lawsuit against Weinstein, would also release the women from confidentiality and NDA agreements.
“We fought a long and grueling battle in the courtroom,” Caitlin Dulany, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said in a statement provided by James’ office. “Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice. Knowing that we will help so many women who are long overdue for relief gives me hope that this settlement will continue to empower others to speak.”
If approved by bankruptcy and US district courts, the $18,875,000 settlement will provide Weinstein victims with between $7,500 and $750,000 each, according to the settlement filing.
The suit, which was originally filed two years ago, also accuses Robert Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, and other officers of the Weinstein company of failing to prevent Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.
In their statement announcing the settlement, James’ office said Weinstein “created a hostile work environment by repeatedly and persistently sexually harassing female employees, including frequently remarking on female employees’ physical appearances, berating female employees, and requiring female employees to perform work while he was naked or only partially dressed.”
Weinstein also made his employees take care of his erectile dysfunction injections and clean up after he had sex, and forced women employees to engage in sex if they wanted to continue working for him or advance their careers, according to James’ office.
The New York Times first reported allegations of misconduct against Weinstein in 2017, which helped spark the #MeToo movement. Dozens of women have come forward alleging they too were abused by Weinstein following the paper's original reporting.
The announcement comes three months after Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping one woman, Jessica Mann, and engaging in a criminal sexual act against another, Mimi Haley. He is in prison in Buffalo, New York, at the Wende Correctional Facility.
“Harvey Weinstein left a trail of trauma that was crushing for many women,” former actor and survivor advocate Louisette Geiss said in a release. “We had aspirations for careers in a business we truly loved, and Weinstein took that dream from us and much more. I knew that I wasn’t alone, and by linking arms with survivors, we were able to fight for meaningful change in this groundbreaking case.”
Not everyone is pleased with the settlement. Attorneys for six other women, who are suing also Weinstein for misconduct, called it a “complete sellout” and said it was unacceptable because it does not hold Weinstein accountable.
“[W]e are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels. 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,” the lawyers, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, said in a statement. “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.”