Laura Palumbo, communications director for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, told Insider that she's not surprised by Harvey Weinstein's tentative $25 million settlement with women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.
Palumbo said having to settle for less than what is deserved is "just a reality" for many victims of sexual assault.
In the tentative settlement, Weinstein won't have to admit any wrongdoing, and the funds will be paid by Weinstein Company insurers.
More than 30 women — both actresses and Weinstein Company employees —have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. The settlement would resolve several civil lawsuits that have been filed against him since 2017.
More than 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees, who in lawsuits have accused Mr. Weinstein of offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape,
The spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NS VRC) told Insider that she's not surprised by the tentative Harvey Weinstein settlement because getting a lower settlement than what is deserved is "just a reality" for many victims of sexual assault.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio had reached a $25 million tentative settlement with dozens of actresses and former Weinstein Company employees who had accused the disgraced Hollywood mogul of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to rape.
The terms of the settlement state that, if approved, Weinstein would not have to admit any wrongdoing, and the settlement would be paid by the Weinstein Company insurers rather than directly by Weinstein, lawyers told The Times.
Laura Palumbo, communications director for the NSVRC, told Insider that parts of the settlement are likely beneficial to the accusers, but also disappointing.
"What is hardest about that is for so many survivors, that expectation that we're actually going to have to settle, no matter what, for less than we deserve is just a reality," she said.
She said that Weinstein not paying the settlement himself is "disheartening" and an "unfortunate reminder" that he isn't being held directly accountable in the civil cases.
There are often "shortcomings" in sexual misconduct settlements, Palumbo said
This isn't the first sexual misconduct civil suit to have what some people believe to be a weak settlement with disheartening shortcomings.
Many people criticized Gretchen Carlson's $20 million settlement after she made claims against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, because a non-disclosure agreement barred her from revealing her allegations publicly.
In many cases, defendants will file for bankruptcy to avoid paying victims of sexual assault directly, Palumbo said. In 2018, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis sought bankruptcy after facing huge potential costs in clergy abuse claims.
But, stressed Palumbo, it's not always about the money. A lower settlement can also be used as a symbol or platform to raise awareness about sexual misconduct. In 2017, Taylor Swift received a $1 symbolic settlement in a sexual assault case against a DJ who she said groped her at a meet-and-greet in 2013.
"Regardless of the shortcomings, if this is something for survivors that represents a symbolic victory because they own their experience and challenge someone who is so powerful, then it is so important to acknowledge that," Palumbo said.
Some women have decided to challenge Weinstein.
The $25 million payout looming in Weinstein's case is part of a larger $47 million settlement meant to close out Weinstein's bankrupt company, lawyers told The New York Times.
More than $12 million of the payout would go toward Weinstein's legal costs, Weinstein's brother, and other former members of the film company's board, The New York Times reported. That leaves $13 million to be divided between 30 or so victims. Each would net out to around $430,000 each if divided equally.
The settlement would resolve many of the lawsuits filed against Weinstein in the last two years, not everyone is on board. Some women have decided to step away from the payout and challenge it.
"While we don't begrudge victims who want to settle, 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 — which is exactly what we intend to do," lawyers for one of the women, Wedil David, said.
Weinstein is still facing a criminal trial in a separate sexual assault case involving two women. The trial is due to start in January.
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