AG James helps win $18.9 million settlement for victims of Harvey Weinstein
As part of a class action lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James helped secure nearly $19 million for the women who experienced sexual misconduct and workplace harassment by convicted rapist and former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The money, $18,875,000, which still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy and district courts, will go into a victims’ compensation fund that will be available to women who were assaulted or abused by Weinstein as well as women who experienced hostile work environments, sexual and gender-based discrimination while working at The Weinstein Company.
“Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company failed their female employees,” James said in a statement. “After all the harassment, threats and discrimination, these survivors are finally receiving some justice. 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.”
James said that part of the agreement says that any women who had previously signed confidentiality agreements that kept them quiet and allowed Weinstein free reign to continue his torturous behavior for years are now allowed to speak openly about their experiences.
“This agreement is a win for every woman who has experienced sexual harassment, discrimination, intimidation or retaliation by her employer,” James said. “I thank the brave women who came forward to share their stories with my office. 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.”
The Attorney General’s Office said that this outcome is the result of a two-year investigation that included interviews with company employees, executives and survivors. Investigators also sifted through hundreds of thousands of company records and emails.
According to prosecutors, Weinstein’s behavior often included repeatedly harassing female employees by remarking on their physical appearances, berating them and requiring them to perform work while he was naked. Female employees were often expected to procure erectile dysfunction injections for him, clean up after his sexual encounters and engage in quid pro quo for continued employment or career advancement.
Robert Weinstein, Harvey’s brother and co-founder of the company, was also implicated as having abetted these violations by failing to investigate complaints or take any actions to stop Harvey’s crimes, according to the AG’s Office.
“We had aspirations for careers in a business we truly loved, and Weinstein took that dream from us and much more,” said Louisette Geiss, a former producer and screenwriter who was an abuse victim. “I knew that I wasn’t alone, and by linking arms with survivors, we were able to fight for meaningful change in this groundbreaking case.
“Building the survivors’ fund was no easy feat. We endured a roller coaster of challenges but in the end, with support from our incredible legal team and the Attorney General’s Office, we persevered,” she said.
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