Harvey Weinstein reaches $44m settlement to settle sexual harassment lawsuits

Roisin O'Connor

Harvey Weinstein has reached a tentative multi-million dollar settlement with women who accused him of sexual assault.

According to the New York Times, the disgraced film mogul’s lawyers agreed a proposed $44m settlement with his accusers, as well as the creditors of his former studio The Weinstein Company (TWC) and the New York attorney general.

Negotiations between Weinstein’s legal team and the lawyers representing his accusers have been going on for over a year, reports suggest.

The deal, which had not been signed at the time of writing, aims to cover all civil proceedings filed against Weinstein, including those in Canada and the United Kingdom, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the proposed settlement, $30m would be go to Weinstein’s accusers, unsecured creditors and former employees of TWC. The remaining $14m would cover legal fees.

The settlement with the New York attorney general relates to its 2018 lawsuit against Weinstein and his brother and business partner Bob Weinstein, for the violation of state and city laws on sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion, as well as gender discrimination.

With the settlement, Weinstein's lawyers hope to cover all pending suits against the producer and his business associates relating to his studio, which was declared bankrupt in March 2018.

According to Associated Press, Adam Harris, a lawyer for studio co-founder Bob Weinstein, told the judge: “We now have an economic agreement in principal that is supported by the plaintiffs, the (New York attorney general's) office, the defendants and all of the insurers that, if approved, would provide significant compensation to victims, creditors and the estate and allow the parties to avoid years of costly, time consuming and uncertain litigation on all sides.”

He cautioned that there was "still a lot of work to do" but that he was "personally very optimistic".

The settlement does not exempt Weinstein from the criminal proceedings brought against him for sexual assault, which he will go on trial for in September.

In October 2017, a Times investigation revealed dozens of women had accused the Oscar-winning producer of sexual assault, with the alleged incidents taking place across two decades.

The report sparked a wave of further claims against Weinstein, including sexual misconduct, assault and rape. It also launched the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, which saw a number of prominent men in Hollywood and in other industries accused of similar behaviour.

Among Weinstein’s accusers are major Hollywood stars Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek.

Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

He will go on trial in New York for charges of raping an unidentified female acquaintance in his Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.