Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrives at criminal court in New York. Picture: Getty Images
Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrives at criminal court in New York. Picture: Getty Images

Outrage over $36m Weinstein settlement

ALLEGED sex offender and fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is reportedly close to settling claims from dozens of women, and some of his alleged victims are furious about it.

Weinstein won't have to stump up any of the purported $A36.3 million payout, which will be covered by insurers and shared between lawyers and more than 30 accusers, according to The New York Times.

The deal was slammed by other victims' lawyers as "so morally wrong" and "shameful", after it was revealed almost $18 million would be paid in legal fees.

Under the terms of the agreement, Weinstein also won't have to admit to any wrongdoing, an outcome which has disappointed some alleged victims.

 

Harvey Weinstein pictured leaving a New York court. Picture: AP
Harvey Weinstein pictured leaving a New York court. Picture: AP

 

Any settlement also won't end his legal troubles, with Weinstein, 67, to face trial next month in Manhattan over two counts of rape. Weinstein's bail was raised from $1.45 million to $7.3 million this week amid claims he violated his ankle bracelet monitoring requirements.

If approved by a judge, the deal would insulate his former company, which filed for bankruptcy in the wake of Weinstein's stunning downfall from one of Hollywood's most powerful men to a pariah.

It would also provide a fund to settle any future claims, according to The New York Times, which quoted "many" lawyers involved in more than two years of legal wrangling.

Revelations that Weinstein preyed on dozens of women for decades sparked the Me Too movement in October, 2017.

His accusers included some of Hollywood's biggest names, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd. None of those women are reportedly part of this settlement and Judd is separately pursuing Weinstein.

Some of Weinstein's less famous alleged victims said they were taking the deal, which would pay them a maximum $700,000 each, because they felt it was their only option for justice.

"I don't love it, but I don't know how to go after him," said actress Katherine Kendall, 50, who alleges Weinstein chased her naked around his apartment after she turned up there for what she understood to be a work meeting.

"I don't know what I can really do," she told The New York Times.

Victim lawyer Genie Harrison said: "I don't think there's a markedly better deal to be made. We have really, truly done the best we can under the circumstances and it's important for other victims to know this, come forward and be able to get the best level of compensation we were able to get."

 

At least four women have refused to take up the offer, which is part of a class action lawsuit and would be paid out by insurance companies for the Weinstein Company, which Weinstein had run with his brother and produced some of the biggest films of the past three decades before it folded, according to Variety.

Lawyer Thomas Giuffra, representing producer Alexandra Canosa, said he would object to the court because so much was going to lawyers.

Mr Giuffra also told Variety that Weinstein, who is reportedly close to filing for personal bankruptcy, stood to make as much as $1.45 million from the agreement.

"That is so morally wrong," Mr Giuffra said, saying that under the terms, insurance companies would hand to Weinstein any settlements that are not accepted by plaintiffs.

Attorney Douglas Wigdor, who represents actress Wedil David and another accuser, released a statement saying he would oppose any deal that insulated insurers from further legal action.

"We reject the notion that this was the best settlement that could have been achieved on behalf of the victims," said Mr Widgor.

"It is shameful that $US12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein, and it is even more outrageous that the proposed settlement will seek to bind non participating members by providing a release to the insurance companies and the directors of the Weinstein Company itself.

"While we don't begrudge victims who want to settle, we plan to vigorously object to any provision that tries to bind victims who want to proceed with holding Harvey Weinstein accountable for his actions which is exactly what we intend to do."



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