The New York Attorney General’s office announced yesterday that an $18,875,000 compensation fund will be set up for nine women who filed a 2017 civil rights lawsuit against convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein for, well – being Harvey. Of course, that’s not the official language that was used in their lawsuit. Although I feel like if you presented that argument in a formal legal setting any time after 2017, most people in the courtroom would say, “No, gotcha – I totally get what you’re saying.”
In November 2017, several accusers joined together and sued Harvey and The Weinstein Company for creating a hostile work environment and allowing him to prey on women without recourse or accountability. A few months later, the New York Attorney General filed their own lawsuit, accusing Harvey of subjecting his employees to years of “pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination.” Deadline says the nine women involved in the class action suit revealed that they had reached a settlement yesterday that would ensure they collectively receive almost $19 million. Elizabeth Fegan, one of the lawyers leading the case, released the following statement:
“This settlement is the culmination of several years of hard work by survivors who not only initiated the #MeToo movement around Weinstein, but also used their platforms to seek justice for all of those who were afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation in Hollywood. The plaintiffs’ use of the class action to negotiate a confidential process where all survivors can apply for meaningful relief was truly selfless and a victory for all women in Hollywood.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James also released a statement regarding the settlement, saying that she considers it to be a victory for Harvey’s victims.
“Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company failed their female employees. After all the harassment, threats, and discrimination, their victims are finally receiving some justice. This agreement is a win for every woman who has experienced sexual harassment, discrimination, intimidation, or retaliation by her employer.”
Except, according to two lawyers representing six of Harvey’s other victims, they don’t think this is any kind of justice at all, and mostly because it doesn’t really hold him that accountable. Attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer say that the settlement is basically a “Get Out Of Guilt Free” card for Harvey, who won’t even have to pay the money himself (his insurance company will cover it). via CNN:
“The proposed settlement is a complete sellout of the Weinstein survivors and we are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels. 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.”
Harvey’s civil attorney, Imran Ansari, spoke to CNN about yesterday’s $19 million settlement, and says that Harvey, “remains intently focused in defending himself on all remaining legal matters, including the appeal of his criminal conviction, civil lawsuits, and the charges filed against him in LA.” Which doesn’t really say much, other than that Harvey is a prolific creep who will be kept busy with lawsuits and allegations until the last tennis ball breaks down and rots off his walker.
Speaking of busy, this is the second settlement in less than a year. In December it was revealed that Harvey had allegedly reached a $25 million settlement with 30 of his accusers. Some people, like Emily Ratajkowski, let it be known they felt like the settlement denied his accusers any accountability or opportunity for justice. Basically, they thought it was Harvey’s way of paying to make the situation disappear.
But it sounds like this recent settlement has perhaps satisfied the specific nine women associated with this particular lawsuit, so who is to say whether this is the right or wrong move. As an outsider, all I can really do is ask both the pro-settlement crowd and the anti-settlement crowd to come together and bond over our mutual hatred of The Gross One, regardless of how questionable that settlement may seem. And to everyone else, I am deeply sorry for any horrible flashbacks the term “questionable” might have caused.