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Michael Swartz / Dec. 13, 2019

Weinstein's Wrist Gets Slapped

The Hollywood mogul doesn't have to admit guilt for sexual sins, nor will he pay personally.

Before The New York Times exposed the allegations of dozens of women who claimed he was a serial sexual harasser, abuser, and rapist, Harvey Weinstein helped make Hollywood run. But his appalling behavior almost single-handedly launched the #MeToo movement two years ago and landed the leftist mogul and his film studio in legal jeopardy. While a settlement was outlined back in May, with the reluctant approval of most involved, we learned this week that the series of civil cases involving Weinstein finally came to a mega-settlement.

Needless to say, many of the plaintiffs are disappointed, largely because of the astounding fact that Weinstein’s fortune won’t be any worse off. “We have really, truly done the best we can under the circumstances,” said Genie Harrison, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, “and it’s important for other victims to know this, come forward and be able to get the best level of compensation we were able to get.”

The settlement was complicated by the canceled sale and eventual bankruptcy of Weinstein’s company. With its failure, a fund for past victims, including ones yet to step forward, dwindled from what was estimated to be $90 million down to $47 million, with at least $12 million of that earmarked for Weinstein’s legal team. Fourteen accusers who sued Weinstein individually will split $6 million, while another $18 million accrues to a fund for other class-action plaintiffs, a fund that will be drawn from until the statute of limitations runs out for those cases. Yet all this money comes from Weinstein’s insurance underwriter. Making matters worse, this predator is free from having to admit wrongdoing and shielded from future liability in these cases.

It’s an outrage and miscarriage of justice. As Kaylee McGhee of the Washington Examiner opines, “Weinstein’s victims deserve more than a monetary consolation; they deserve an apology, an admission, and a criminal conviction.”

She’s certainly right, but as The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti notes, “[Weinstein is] both protected by the law and by a better legal team.” Since many of the victims only chose to step forward years or decades after being assaulted, their statute of limitations ran out, leaving civil lawsuits as their sole recourse. (There are several criminal charges pending against Weinstein, but that trial isn’t slated to begin until late next year.)

When the Weinstein story first broke two years ago, we in our humble shop described it as another case of Hollywood hypocrisy. But after a brief flurry of #MeToo harassment cases hit both sides of the political aisle, the media mostly returned to full-time Trump hatred.

In short, things haven’t changed much, and our two-tiered justice system seems as rotten as ever. We don’t know how the criminal trial will turn out, but Weinstein will have the presumption of innocence. From our perspective, however, based on the civil settlement, we’re not holding our breath for justice to be served.

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