It comes as a last-ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy following the downfall of co-founder Harvey Weinstein, and his accusers are positive the deal will show “some good can come from bad.”
Maria Contreras-Sweet, who headed the US Small Business Administration under Barack Obama, and billionaire Ron Burkle are expected to pay around $500 million (£325 million) for the studio.
The pair plan to relaunch the company with a female-dominated director board, set aside $90 million (£64 million) for victim relief funds and assume about $225 million (£163 million) of the studio’s debt.
Now do America. https://t.co/8KyE8jclqQ
— Michelle Legro (@michellelegro) March 3, 2018
In a statement, Contreras-Sweet said they will “launch a new company, with a new board and a new vision that embodies the principles that we have stood by since we began this process last fall.”
She went on to describe, in part, how the new venture would be much different from the Weinstein Company, which has been accused of covering up a wealth of sexual misconduct:
“Those principles have never wavered and have always been to build a movie studio led by a board of directors made up of a majority of independent women, save about 150 jobs, protect the small businesses who are owed money and create a victims’ compensation fund that would supplement existing insurance coverage for those who have been harmed.”
Contreras-Sweet claims that she wants to “launch a new company that represents the best practices in corporate governance and transparency”.
“We have been able to turn this horrible destructive thing into something so constructive.” Katherine Kendall and nine other women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault attended a coffee meeting filmed by Panorama – watch more tonight on @BBCOne #BBCPanorama pic.twitter.com/mBzh2KdF6q
— Panorama (@BBCPanorama) March 1, 2018
Actress Katherine Kendall, one of more than 80 women to have spoken out against Weinstein, applauded the deal, insisting it was “ironic but positive that a woman is involved in the purchase”.
She told Deadline it was “encouraging” to know the investor group had set aside the compensation fund for victims as it serves as a “tacit acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the claims by the accusers”.
My statement on the agreement to sell The Weinstein Company’s assets: pic.twitter.com/YF4XPtQGZ5
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) March 2, 2018
Paul Webster, head of production for Miramax between 1995-97, admits that “the fund alone won’t compensate the emotional pain suffered” but the significance of the sale was a positive one.
“The fund, the female board, the proposed new direction shows that some good can come from bad,” he said, even though – he suggests – Weinstein’s “comeuppance” will only come via successful court actions.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who brokered the sale, said he was pleased the deal would “create a real, well-funded victims compensation fund, implement HR policies that will protect all employees and will not unjustly reward bad actors”.
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