Movies

Weinstein, accusers reach $34 million settlement

Critics say size of payout, to be shared by over 30 women, is inadequate

NEW YORK : Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has reached a US$25 million (S$34 million) settlement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct, one of the women's lawyers said.

He faces a criminal trial next month on charges of rape and forcibly performing oral sex on a woman that could see him jailed for life.

The payout from a separate civil case will be shared among more than 30 actresses and former employees who have sued the 67-year-old for offences ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

Weinstein will not have to admit wrongdoing or pay from his own pocket, celebrity news portal TMZ said, with the bill instead being met by insurers for his bankrupt former movie studio, The Weinstein Company.

The deal will have to be signed by all parties and get court approval to resolve almost every misconduct lawsuit brought against him since 2017 and insulate company directors from future liability.

The criminal claims against him involve just two accusers, meaning the civil settlement represents the only chance of justice for the many women who have accused Weinstein of abuse.

But several accusers and their lawyers have denounced the deal.

"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," said lawyer Douglas Wigdor, who is representing two women in claims against the producer.

Anti-sexual harassment campaign group Time's Up, created in the wake of accusations against Weinstein, said it hoped the settlement brought Weinstein's victims "some small measure of long overdue justice" but added the size of the payout was inadequate.

"If this is the best the survivors could get, the system is broken," the group tweeted.

Weinstein shuffled into a pre-trial hearing in Manhattan with a walking frame.

His US$1 million cash bail was raised to US$2 million in assets after prosecutors accused him of mishandling his ankle monitor.

Weinstein's legal team told the court he was scheduled to undergo surgery to relieve back pain from an injury in an August car accident.

One of his accusers, 50-year-old Katherine Kendall, told The New York Times she was disappointed by the deal but had agreed to sign on because she did not want other women to miss out on the payout.- AFP

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