Harvey Weinstein Reaches $47 Million Settlement, Wiping The Civil Slate Clean

Money talks and sexual predators walk.

That appears to be the anticlimatic end of the #MeToo story arc, which started with Harvey Weinstein, and is set to conclude with a multi-million cash settlement ending effectively all civil cases against the former Hollywood mogul.

According to the WSJ, Harvey Weinstein, his former associates, insurers and accusers have all reached a nearly $47 million tentative settlement of virtually all the civil cases pending against him, about $25 million of which will compensate women who have accused the Hollywood producer of sexual misconduct.

Under the terms of the agreement, Weinstein and his former associates won't admit wrongdoing; the deal still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge and a judge overseeing a proposed class-action lawsuit.  Even better for the "not guilty" Weinstein, the bulk of the settlement money will be paid not by him but by his insurance policies, including those held by his former studio.

While the deal will resolve all but two of the civil sexual-misconduct lawsuits and other legal claims filed against Weinstein, the settlement won’t impact the criminal case brought by Manhattan prosecutors against the former producer, which is set to go to trial on January 6. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The WSJ reports that the settlement is the culmination of more than a year of negotiations, which involved countless parties, including Weinstein's lawyers, his former film studio, the New York attorney general’s office, insurers and alleged victims. The negotiations also included the former associates of Mr. Weinstein who some women claimed had enabled Mr. Weinstein’s alleged abuse. It also resolves a suit filed by the New York attorney general that accused his former studio’s executives and board of failing to protect women from his alleged misconduct.

Here is how the money will be divided up according to the proposed deal:

  • $6 million will go to women who have filed lawsuits and legal claims and their attorneys.
  • $18.6 million will be set aside to create a settlement fund for additional alleged victims, including those covered by the attorney general’s suit.
  • $7 million will go to some creditors of the film studio
  • $12 million will cover the costs of lawyers who defended Weinstein’s former associates against the suits.
  • $1 million will fund Weinstein’s defense costs to fight lawsuits against two victims who aren’t participating in the settlement.

In other words, for every dollar Weinstein's alleged victims receive now, his lawyers will get two.

Lawyers for those women who refused to take part in the deal portrayed the settlement as unfair. Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for one of those women, said in a statement that he didn’t believe the deal was the best possible settlement. "It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein."

Surely he would prefer that $12 million was going to the plaintiff's lawyers, and speaking of, perhaps it's now time to change the name of #metoo to #paymetoo.