Judge rejects Weinstein settlement after criticism from accusers

Harvey Weinstein
(Image credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

A Harvey Weinstein settlement that was criticized as "one-sided and unfair" by some of his accusers has been rejected.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Tuesday rejected a proposed $46.8 million settlement of Weinstein sexual misconduct cases and blasted its "obnoxious" terms, Variety reports.

The settlement would have used insurance money to set up a $18.9 million fund for alleged victims of Weinstein, who was convicted on sexual assault and rape charges earlier this year, but also would have provided money to cover costs for Weinstein and his associates. On Monday, lawyers for several Weinstein accusers rebuked the settlement as a "cruel hoax." They said Weinstein and others from his company would "be absolved from liability" and collectively receive about $15 million, coming out as the "main winners."

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"This is the most one-sided and unfair settlement we have ever seen proposed to a court," the lawyers said, per The Wrap. "Under no set of circumstances should the uber-wealthy former directors, including Harvey and Bob Weinstein, receive more money than a class of rape and sexual assault survivors."

The judge, according to Variety, decided that the settlement "improperly nullifies claims of non-participating parties," and he objected to Weinstein and others getting "millions in attorneys' fees" from it.

"The idea that Harvey Weinstein can get a defense fund ahead of the claimants is obnoxious," the judge said. "The idea you can regulate the claims of people not in the settlement — I can't subscribe to that."

Hellerstein additionally said that the accusations are different enough that this should not be a class action case, Variety reports. The attorneys who had objected to the settlement in a statement on Tuesday celebrated the move, saying they "are pleased that Judge Hellerstein swiftly rejected the one-sided proposal," adding, "we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.