- Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has reached a tentative $19 million settlement in New York that creates a compensation fund for his alleged victims.
- This comes after he was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape charges. He is also awaiting trial for more sex crime charges in Los Angeles.
- While New York Attorney General Letitia James and several plaintiffs celebrated the settlement as a win for victims, not everyone is happy with it.
- Two attorneys representing six of Weinstein’s accusers think it does not go far enough because Weinstein is not required to accept responsibility or pay up himself.
A nearly $19 million tentative settlement has been reached between disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein and several of his accusers, according to New York’s Attorney General.
On Tuesday, the Attorney General’s office released a statement announcing the settlement, which will create an $18.87 million compensation fund for Weinstein’s victims if it is approved by bankruptcy and district courts. The release did not state specifically how many women would be accessing this fund, but reports indicate it will be split between dozens of women. Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape charges in March, had been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women.
The settlement stems from two lawsuits. The first was a 2017 class-action suit brought forward on behalf of women who claim Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. The second was filed in 2018 and alleges that Weinstein maintained a hostile work environment at the Weinstein Company. That lawsuit also claims that his brother, Robert Weinstein, aided in creating the degrading workplace.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the funding will break down into two different tiers. Women will be able to submit a form describing their experience with Weinstein and its effects. Tier 1 claimants will get between $7,500 and $150,000, while Tier 2 claimants will receive between $7,500 and $750,000. The settlement will also release women from their non-disclosure agreements with the Weinstein Company.
“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,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “This agreement is a win for every woman who has experienced sexual harassment, discrimination, intimidation, or retaliation by her employer.”
As part of their two-year investigation, the Attorney General’s office has interviewed Weinstein Company employees, executives, and survivors of misconduct and assault at the hands of Weinstein. The lawsuits leading up to this settlement allege that he persistently sexually harassed and berated female employees. It also claims that some female employees were required to perform work while Weinstein was partially or fully naked and that he demanded or forced them to engage in unwanted sexual acts while he dangled the promise of career advancement. According to the suits, Robert Weinstein aided and abetted these actions by choosing to not investigate complaints into this behavior.
“Harvey Weinstein left a trail of trauma that was crushing for many women. We had aspirations for careers in a business we truly loved, and Weinstein took that dream from us and much more,” said Louisette Geiss, who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct in 2017. “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.”
Guess was one of the plaintiffs involved in this case. Caitlin Dulany, another plaintiff who also accused Weinstein of harassment, released her own statement following the news of the settlement as well.
“Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice,” Delany said. “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.”
Backlash Against Settlement
However, not everyone involved with this case was applauding the tentative settlement. Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who represents six of Weinstein’s accusers, called it a “total sellout.”
“We are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels,” they said in a statement, obtained and published in full by the Hollywood Reporter. “While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons.”
Wigdor and Mintzer listed numerous critiques of the settlement, including the fact that Weinstein is still accepting no responsibility for his actions, as well as the fact that he is not required to pay the settlement himself. The attorneys also claim that it puts up a roadblock for women who did not join the settlement because they will not be able to access a big chunk of money protected by insurance companies in the fund. They plan on objecting it in court.
Throughout the onslaught of accusations against him, Weinstein has maintained his innocence. According to his lawyer, he plans on attempting to appeal criminal convictions against him, and defending himself in civil lawsuits. He is also facing multiple sex crime charges in Los Angeles County, where he plans on defending himself as well.
It is unclear when his Los Angeles trial will begin because coronavirus has held up many aspects of court proceedings.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Variety) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Britney Spears’ Attorney Files Petition To Oust Father as Conservator
Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said there are “serious questions” regarding “potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest [and] conservatorship abuse.”
Mathew Rosengart Petitions Court To Remove Jamie Spears
Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed a petition Monday to remove the singer’s father, Jamie Spears, as her financial conservator.
Jamie Spears has served as his daughter’s financial conservator for 13 years. In the filing, Rosengart said the elder Spears “profited handsomely” from the position. He asked that Jamie be replaced with a Certified Public Accountant named Jason Rubin, who Rosengart described as “objectively intelligent” and “highly qualified” for the job.
The petition is 120 pages long and contained scathing remarks about Jamie. Britney has made it clear she wants him removed from the conservatorship, which she wants to be terminated entirely. During a statement in June, she called the situation “abusive” and specifically condemned her father.
“He loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it,” she said.
Rosengart has promised to be a stronger advocate for Britney than her previous lawyer, Samuel Ingham, was. He seems to be following through on his word by challenging Jamie’s status as a conservator just weeks after being appointed Britney’s attorney.
“Serious questions abound concerning Mr. Spears’s potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, conservatorship abuse and the evident dissipation of Ms. Spears’s fortune,” he wrote.
The petition claims that Jamie made at least $2.1 million from Britney’s residency in Las Vegas, snagging a 1.5% cut of gross revenues and merchandise. It also claims that he paid himself $16,000 a month from Britney’s estate, which is $2,000 more than he gave Britney. On top of that, Jamie reportedly took another $2,000 for business purposes.
Rosengart wrote that while it might be common for a manager or agent to make this kind of money, someone in Jamie’s position should not be.
“He is a conservator, and, as a conservator, his role is to be burdened by, rather than benefit from, the conservatorship.”
Britney’s Mother Speaks Out
Both Britney’s personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, and her mother, Lynne Spears, gave statements in the filings echoing the need for Jamie to be removed from his role. Montgomery emphasized that his departure was necessary for the singer’s welfare.
“It would be best for Ms. Spears’ well-being and mental health that her father stop acting as her conservator,’ she wrote.
Lynne did not hold back on criticizing Jamie, saying Britney’s relationship with her father has “dwindled to nothing but fear and hatred” because of the control he exerts over her. She also claimed that he relied on Britney’s house staff, medical aides, and security team to “inform on and report back to him each and every detail of every action” in his daughter’s life.
“Such scrutiny is exhausting and terrifying, like living in custody,” she said.
This petition does not terminate the conservatorship fully, but Rosengart said that could be something the court has to examine one day further down the line.
“There might well come a time when the court will be called upon to consider whether the conservatorship should be terminated in its entirety and whether — in addition to stripping his daughter of her dignity, autonomy and certain fundamental liberties — Mr. Spears is also guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance warranting the imposition of surcharges, damages or other legal action against him,” Rosengart wrote.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (NBC News) (New York Times)
Simone Biles Withdraws, Naomi Osaka Ousted in Rough Day at Olympics. Both Cite Heavy Pressure To Perform
Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final due to a medical issue while Osaka lost in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament.
Team USA Takes Silver in Women’s Gymnastics
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles shocked the world Tuesday after pulling out of the women’s gymnastics team finals at the Tokyo Games due to a medical issue.
She left the competition area with a medical examiner after faltering during her vault performance, which was pretty out of character for Biles, who is the most decorated gymnast of all time. However, she later told NBC’s Today that her withdrawal was not due to a physical injury.
“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape,” she explained. “Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment. Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”
Biles said she isn’t sure whether she will compete Thursday in the individual all-around competition and is just going to “take it day by day.”
The gymnastics star later talked about not wanting to cost her team a medal or injure herself by performing her dangerous stunts in the wrong headspace.
“It’s just it’s not worth it, especially when you have three amazing athletes that can step up to the plate and do it,” she said, according to The New York Times.
Biles has previously been pretty open about all the pressure she’s been feeling amid the Games, writing in an Instagram post on Sunday, “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me, but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke.”
Russia went on to take gold at the competition while the U.S. took silver, ending more than a decade of American domination in the event. Still, it’s worth noting that Russia’s margin of victory proved no single mistake by the U.S. was to blame for their second-place finish.
According to The Times, it wasn’t just Jordan Chiles’ fall on floor or Biles’ weak vault. “It was a combination of those two mistakes plus Biles’s absence on the other apparatuses plus truly standout performances from Russia on three out of four events.”
Holding that same sentiment, many fans are defending Biles against anyone suggesting she was solely responsible for the team’s missed shot at first place, noting that the country’s strategy to win can’t just be based on expecting her to generate huge margins for them.
Tennis Star Speaks Out After Olympic Loss
Day four of the Games proved to be similarly rough on tennis star Naomi Osaka, who will leave Tokyo without a medal after losing to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament.
Osaka, who represented Japan at the Games, faced high expectations to do well as she is the highest-paid female athlete in the world and the host country’s face of the Games.
“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” she said.
“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this. I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much.”
She later added, “I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure, so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation.”
Osaka has been open about her mental health struggles before, with her citing, among other things, the way speaking with reporters after matches create self-doubt, so one can only imagine what she was feeling with all of the eyes on her at such a huge international event.
Despite the surprising performances from Biles and Osaka, people all over the world are continuing to praise them for being trailblazers in their sports and for being so candid when it comes to topics like mental health.
Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”
The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.“
Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund
Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country.
The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States.
“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”
The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S. It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”
The Fight to End Cash Bail
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”
Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.
“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”
A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning.
The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.