Eighteen of the alleged victims would split US$6.2 million, with no individual receiving more than $500,000. A separate US$18.5 million would go toward those involved in a class-action case, the New York attorney general's suit and any future claimants

By Ian Horswill

Posted on December 12, 2019

Oscar-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein has reportedly reached a US$25 million deal with more than 30 women who he allegedly sexually abused.

Harvey Weinstein, whose criminal trial will start in Manhatten next month, would not have to pay a cent to his accusers or have to admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement, The New York Times reported.

The deal, tentative at this stage, involves alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein in the US, Canada and the UK. The proposal is awaiting final approval from the courts and from individuals involved, the report states. If the agreement is binding the US$25 million would be met by insurance companies handling the bankruptcy of the Weinstein Company.

Eighteen of the alleged victims would split US$6.2 million, with no individual receiving more than US$500,000. A separate US$18.5 million would go towards those involved in a class-action case, the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit and any future claimants, the report stated.

“I don’t love it, but I don’t know how to go after him. I don’t know what I can really do,” Katherine Kendall, who appeared in the 2006 film Southland Tales said. Kendall was allegedly sexually harassed by Weinstein in 1993, according to the paper.

The tentative settlement was revealed by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, the two reporters from the New York Times who first wrote about Harvey Weinstein’s long history of alleged sexual misconduct in October 2017, sparking the #MeToo movement. The reporters were awarded a Pulitzer prize for the stories and wrote a bestselling book on the subject, She Said.

Aspects of the tentative deal have already prompted angry responses from some of Weinstein’s alleged victims. In particular, more than $US12m out of a total US$47m package to close the Weinstein Company’s affairs would feed back to Weinstein himself along with his brother, Bob, and other board members to contribute to legal costs.

According to the Times, two women involved in civil suits against the former producer, Alexandra Canosa and Wedil David, have refused to join the settlement and are challenging it.

“We reject the notion that this was the best settlement that could have been achieved on behalf of the victims. It is shameful that $12m of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein,” Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for David, said in a statement.

“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.”

The criminal charges against him include the alleged rape of a woman in 2013 and an accusation of forced oral sex on a similarly unnamed woman in 2006. Weinstein has denied any claim of nonconsensual sex, criminal or civil.

In August Weinstein was also charged with two counts of predatory sexual assault to allow a third woman, the actor Annabella Sciorra, to testify about an alleged rape in 1993. Though the statute of limitations has passed in that incident, prosecutors hope her testimony will demonstrate a pattern of behaviour on the part of the defendant that will help secure his conviction.

Weinstein has been free on bail since his arrest in May 2018. On Wednesday his bail conditions were raised from $1m to $5m after the prosecution accused him of tampering with his electronic ankle monitor.