Actress Caitlin Dulany, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said she hopes the agreement "will continue to empower others to speak"

By Benjamin VanHoose
July 01, 2020 10:36 AM
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Women who say they faced sexual misconduct and workplace sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein could receive restitution in the form of a nearly $19 million settlement.

On Tuesday, the New York Attorney General's office announced the settlement that would create an $18,875,000 victims compensation fund, which awaits approval from bankruptcy and district courts later this year.

The payout would resolve the Attorney General’s February 2018 lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, Harvey and his brother, Bob, for "maintaining a hostile work environment at the company," and a separate putative, or potential, class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of women who were allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted by the disgraced film producer.

"Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company failed their female employees. After all the harassment, threats and discrimination, these survivors are finally receiving some justice," said Attorney General Letitia James in a press release. "For more than two years, my office has fought tirelessly in the pursuit of justice for the women whose lives were upended by Harvey Weinstein."

Harvey Weinstein in February
Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock

James called the agreement a "win for every woman who has experienced sexual harassment, discrimination, intimidation, or retaliation by her employer."

"I thank the brave women who came forward to share their stories with my office," added James. "I will forever carry their stories in my heart and never stop fighting for the right of every single person to be able to work harassment-free."

As part of the settlement, women who signed NDAs related to sexual misconduct by Weinstein will be released from those agreements, free to share their stories without consequence.

Meanwhile, attorneys for several other women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct  -- but who are not involved in this case --  criticized the agreement as a "complete sellout," according to NBC News.

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"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," the lawyers for those women, Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, told the outlet in a statement.

Actress Caitlin Dulany, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996, according to Variety.

"We fought a long and grueling battle in the courtroom," Dulany, 57, said in a statement. "Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice. Knowing that we will help so many women who are long overdue for relief gives me hope that this settlement will continue to empower others to speak."

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Actress Louisette Geiss, who was also a plaintiff in the same case that reached a settlement, told Variety that she "stepped up publicly because I could not allow Harvey Weinstein to deny the truth and continue abusing women."

"A criminal case was not on the table for most of us, but we wanted to take a stand," said Geiss.

In March, Weinstein, 68, was sentenced to 23 years in prison at a New York City court. He was convicted in February on charges of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. He is currently serving his sentence at a prison in upstate New York. Weinstein faces more charges in an upcoming Los Angeles trial.

"With closure in sight on one front, Mr. Weinstein 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 L.A.,” Weinstein's attorney Imran Ansari told Variety in a statement. “He continues to pursue all legal recourse available to him and remains steadfast in the defense of those matters."

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.