Harvey Weinstein Sex Abuse Settlement Is Not an ‘Oh, Wow’ Number
(Bloomberg) -- A tentative $47 million settlement between Harvey Weinstein and dozens of his accusers is “flawed,” advocates say, but still an important vindication.
“I think it’s just on the margin of being seen as serious, but it certainly does not deliver the message that $100 million would deliver, or $200 million would deliver,” said Davia Temin, founder of crisis consultancy Temin and Company, which has tracked more than 1,400 people accused of harassment and other misbehavior since the Weinstein allegations surfaced. “This isn’t some ‘oh, wow’ number.”
Considering the scope of the allegations and their impact, Temin and others expected a higher figure. “This settlement is more than a math problem,” Rebecca Goldman, chief operating officer of the Time's Up Foundation, said in a statement. “It’s a symptom of a problematic, broken system that privileges powerful abusers at the expense of survivors. While this settlement is flawed, we know it represents the hard work of several survivors of Harvey Weinstein.”
But for victims, “avoiding a prolonged court battle might bring a measure of relief,” said Julie Roginsky, one of the women who accused Fox News Chair Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. In 2017, she settled her claims.
Whatever the amount, it’s a reminder that there has been fundamental change in the expectations on employers in the workplace, said Michelle Phillips, an attorney at Jackson Lewis in New York who advises companies on employment law. There’s more awareness on behalf of employers and stronger laws in states like New York, California, New Jersey, she said.
The fact that Weinstein doesn’t have to admit responsibility, or pay his own money, is not unusual in a settlement for a harassment case, Phillips said. It shouldn’t be read as a sign that the allegations weren’t taken seriously.
“The trend is going to continue to hold people accountable for inappropriate behavior,” Phillips said. “I don't see that subsiding anytime soon. And it's our job as attorneys to work with employers to have them understand the seriousness with which these allegations need to be taken.”
The Hollywood mogul, who is also facing criminal charges, has denied allegations of sexual abuse. The complaints against him sparked the #MeToo movement that has led hundreds of people to come forward alleging abuse by prominent figures.
The money would be paid by Weinstein Co.’s insurance firms, Bloomberg News reported. The settlement would still require the approval of the court and the parties involved. About a third of the money is expected to go to lawyers.
The details of many settlements are kept private. In 2017, the New York Times reported that commentator Bill O'Reilly and Fox News had settled with six accusers for about $45 million.
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