Harvey Weinstein allegedly had a sexual harrasment clause in his contract
A new twist on the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault charges.
According to Entertainment website TMZ, the Weinstein firing by his own company may have been illegal. The website was privy to a copy of Weinstein company contract that states in the event he was sued over sexual harrasment, he could settle, pay the money and that would be good enough for the company.
The contract, reportedly from 2015, states should Weinstein get sued for sexual harassment or any other "misconduct" that results in a settlement or judgment against TWC, all Weinstein would need to do is pay what the company's out, along with a fine, and he would be in the clear.
According to the contract, if Weinstein "treated someone improperly in violation of the company's Code of Conduct," he must reimburse TWC for settlements or judgments. Additionally, "You [Weinstein] will pay the company liquidated damages of $250,000 for the first such instance, $500,000 for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each additional instance."
The contract says as long as Weinstein pays, it constitutes a "cure" for the misconduct and no further action can be taken. Translation -- Weinstein could be sued over and over and as long as he wrote a check, he keeps his job.
The contract has specific language as to when the Board of Directors can fire Weinstein -- if he's indicted or convicted of a crime, but that doesn't apply here.
There's another provision ... he can be fired for "the perpetuation by you [Weinstein] of a material fraud against the company." The question ... where's the fraud? Lance Maerov, the board member who negotiated Weinstein's 2015 contract, said in an interview, confirmed by TMZ, the Board knew Weinstein had settled prior lawsuits brought by various women, but they "assumed" it was to cover up consensual affairs. The Board's assumption does not constitute fraud on Weinstein's part.
Another clause claims even if Weinstein had committed fraud by not fully informing the Board of Directors, the contract says before he can be fired he has a right to mediation and if that doesn't work, he's entitled to arbitration. He got neither. He was summarily fired, and sources connected with Weinstein tell TMZ he was never given a specific reason.
A source connected with TWC tells TMZ, the company had a right to fire Weinstein if he didn't notify the Board of Directors of settlements.
But TMZ claims its been told there have been no settlements since the contract was signed, so it would seem this clause does not apply.
With files from TMZ