Harvey Weinstein reaches deal with dozens of his accusers

The outlines of this deal were reported back in May. Now the NY Times reports that all of the principles involved have agreed to the deal, though it will still take more work by lawyers and approval by two judges before this is over. But if approved, an insurance company would pay out $47 million, roughly half of which would be put into funds to settle nearly all of the lawsuits filed against Weinstein:

The proposed global legal settlement has gotten preliminary approval from the major parties involved, according to several of the lawyers. More than 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees, who in lawsuits have accused Mr. Weinstein of offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape, would share in the payout — along with potential claimants who could join in coming months. The deal would bring to an end nearly every such lawsuit against him and his former company…

More than $12 million — a quarter of the overall settlement package — would go toward some, but not all, legal costs for Mr. Weinstein; his brother, Bob; and other former members of their company’s board, the lawyers said. The board members would be insulated from future liability, and the alleged victims would drop their claims against Mr. Weinstein and other executives…

“I don’t think there’s a markedly better deal to be made,” [Attorney Gene] Harrison said. “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.”…

Zoe Brock, 45, a former model who has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually inappropriate behavior, said in an interview that agreeing to the settlement terms made her feel “defeated and hopeless,” because neither Mr. Weinstein nor his former board members would be required to pay the alleged victims. But when she looked for legal alternatives, she found none.

The problem is that many of the alleged incidents are past the statue of limitations which means these women will never get justice in a criminal court. What’s left to them are civil lawsuits but even those are limited by the money available. Early last year there was hope that the Weinstein company would be sold and the profits from that sale would be money Weinstein’s victims could pursue. But the sale of the company collapsed after the potential buyers found the company had far more debt than expected. Now Weinstein’s victims and his company’s other creditors are left to fight over the insurance money.

Two women who have sued Weinstein, a producer and an actress, plan to fight the deal so there may still be more changes before this is completed. Also, there is a separate lawsuit brought against Weinstein by actress Ashley Judd which is not part of this deal. Weinstein will also face criminal charges in a New York court starting in January. That case involves allegations by two women.

Finally, there’s a story out today about Roman Polanski which touches on Weinstein. Asked about Weinstein’s case, Polanski claims it was Weinstein who revived the story about his rape of a young girl, allegedly to prevent Polanski’s 2002 film The Pianist from winning at the Oscars:

Polanski said he had no ties to Weinstein, whom he had met a handful of times, and was “very surprised by the avalanche of accusations” against the producer that surfaced two years ago. However, he suggested that it is Weinstein who was responsible for renewed interest in the original case involving Polanski. He told Paris Match, “I know that in 2003, Weinstein panicked when The Pianist won two BAFTAs, including Best Film. Weinstein, who had two films nominated at the Oscars, launched a campaign to stop the same thing happening in Hollywood. It was he who dug up the [then] 26-year-old story with Samantha and which was no longer of interest to anyone. His press attaché was the first person to call me a ‘child rapist.’ The paradox is that The Pianist didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar, a prize that goes to the producer, but I won Best Director.”

If this is true, Harvey Weinstein bashing Roman Polanski as a rapist has got to be something close to peak Hollywood hypocrisy.