Women harassed or assaulted while working for Harvey Weinstein and his production company should soon be able to be compensated by a fund endowed with $ 19 million, following an agreement supposed to end two lawsuits and announced Tuesday by the New York State Attorney.
Prosecutor Letitia James said the deal has yet to be validated by two judges - the bankruptcy judge who oversees the liquidation of the Weinstein Company and a New York federal judge. If accepted, he will end a lawsuit brought in federal civil justice against the ex-Hollywood producer - who is currently serving a 23 year prison sentence - as well as the complaint filed in February 2018 by the New York prosecutor against the ex-producer, accused of having in particular demanded sexual favors from certain employees with the complicity of his company.
>> READ ALSO - "Harvey Weinstein, he needed fresh flesh all the time", says his former driver in France
"After all the harassment, threats, discrimination, these victims will finally see justice done," said the prosecutor. Louisette Geiss, one of the women behind the collective complaint against the former producer, welcomed the creation of a fund that will compensate "many victims who lost their careers, and many more".
A "deeply unfair" draft agreement
Lawyers Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, representing six alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein, however, denounced a draft agreement "deeply unfair". They notably underlined that Harvey Weinstein accepted no responsibility for his actions there, that he would not contribute financially to the fund, and that the victims who would nevertheless want to sue the insurance companies of the producer and his company do not will be able more because they will be released from any obligation by the agreement.
>> READ ALSO - Weinstein convicted: "We are unfortunately not there in France ..."
The prosecutor's press release on Tuesday does not mention another draft agreement announced in December 2019, which provided for the payment of some $ 25 million to alleged victims as part of a comprehensive agreement that would settle all debts, contentious and bonds of the Weinstein Company. Several separate agreements are negotiated between lawyers to settle a series of civil lawsuits in the wake of the Weinstein case, which broke out in October 2017 and gave birth to the #MeToo movement, a movement to denounce the often unpunished sexual assaults perpetrated by men of power.
Harvey Weinstein, 68, accused of sexual assault and harassment by 100 women, was found guilty of rape and sexual assault by a New York jury in February, a historic victory for # MeToo.