A US bankruptcy court judge has approved a $17 million payout to women who accused the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
This comes nearly three years after the Weinstein Company declared bankruptcy, reported Variety. The plan, which has recently gotten approved, also provides $9.7 million to the former officers and directors of the company, allowing them to pay a portion of their legal bills over the past several years.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath approved the plan after a hearing that was held in Delaware, saying that without the settlement, Weinstein's victims would get "minimal, if any, recovery." The $17 million fund will be divided among more than 50 claimants, with the most serious allegations resulting in payouts of $500,000 or more. The settlement was put to a vote of Weinstein's victims, with 39 voting in favour and eight opposed.
The directors and officers, who include Weinstein's brother Bob, James Dolan, Tarak Ben Ammar, and Lance Maerov, also received releases that absolve them of any potential liability for enabling the movie's mogul sexual misconduct, as per Variety.
The liquidation plan, set aside for Weinstein's victims, wraps up a long-running legal fight over the remnants of the movie mogul's independent studio. The company collapsed in late 2017, following the disclosure of multiple allegations of rape, sexual assault, harassment, and other misconducts.
Several insurance carriers are also expected to pay out a total of $35.2 million to resolve all the remaining claims, including those from the Weinstein Company's trade creditors.
In October 2017, the Times reported that several women had accused the Oscar-winning producer of sexual assault. The allegations led to a number of further claims of sexual assault against Weinstein in The New Yorker and other publications.
The allegations against the producer went on to spur accusations against various prominent men in Hollywood and around the world under the #MeToo hashtag on social media, which became a movement.
More than 80 women, including actors Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Rose McGowan have opened up about similar stories against Weinstein. Some accused him of using physical force to compel them to have intercourse, while others said he tried to exchange parts in movies for sex or threatened to ruin their careers if they did not comply with him.