Weinstein Company lifts NDAs. Will more victims come forward?

Weinstein empire unravels amid scandal
Weinstein empire unravels amid scandal

The very first story about Harvey Weinstein's wrongdoing described the nondisclosure agreements that silenced victims and witnesses.

These legal agreements, known as NDAs, were exposed right along with Weinstein's behavior.

Now, more than six months after the first stories broke, the NDAs are being lifted, according to Weinstein's former movie studio.

At the same time The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy on Monday night, the studio said that it "expressly releases any confidentiality provision to the extent it has prevented individuals who suffered or witnessed any form of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein from telling their stories."

In other words: The NDAs are no longer in effect.

"No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet," the company said.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman had been pushing for this outcome for several months. His office filed a civil rights lawsuit against the studio last month, partly to provoke change.

Schneiderman said Monday night that the lifting of the NDAs is "a watershed moment for efforts to address the corrosive effects of sexual misconduct in the workplace."

He said the agreement "will finally enable voices that have for too long been muzzled to be heard."

Some female staffers have already defied the NDAs and given interviews on the record about Weinstein.

Others have spoken only on condition of anonymity because they feared that Weinstein's lawyers would retaliate.

It remains to be seen how many accusers or eyewitnesses will come forward now that the company has publicly lifted the NDAs.

There are now more than 60 accusers who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, including some who have accused Weinstein of rape. Weinstein has sought treatment after the allegations were made public last October, but he has consistently denied all allegations of "non-consensual sex."

Meanwhile, the crippled studio has reached a deal with the private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners. Lantern is looking to acquire Weinstein Co. through the bankruptcy process.

The initial bankruptcy paperwork was filed on Monday night. Other bidders could come forward and try to top Lantern's bid for the Weinstein Co. assets.

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