The Weinstein Company has filed for bankruptcy and ended all of its nondisclosure agreements. The company, which produced and distributed Hollywood films like Inglourious Basterds and Silver Linings Playbook, was co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct dating back decades.
More than 70 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault since October, creating a global reckoning and sparking the #MeToo movement, which has continued to shine a light on misconduct in the workplace. Weinstein was fired as the company’s CEO in October over the allegations and the company has since been struggling financially. Weinstein has denied ever having non-consensual sex.
The Weinstein Company had been looking for a buyer or investor for months and made a bankruptcy protection filing in a Delaware court. The company has listed between $500 million to $1 billion in liabilities and the same amount in assets. It is avoiding low bids on its assets by appointing private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners as a “stalking horse bidder.” A stalking horse bid is an initial setting bid, and it’s a way for the company to maximize the value of its assets as part of the court-supervised auction. According to Reuters, Lionsgate and Miramax (which was also founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein) had both made earlier offers for the company’s assets and could still be bidders.
The filing also includes an end to the prohibitive NDAs that Weinstein enforced on his victims. “Since October, it has been reported that Harvey Weinstein used non-disclosure agreements as a secret weapon to silence his accusers. Effective immediately, those ‘agreements’ end,” the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters. New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman had advocated for the ending of the NDAs and is currently investigating the studio for any misconduct. Weinstein repeatedly used those NDAs to cover up allegations made against him. Women who have detailed inappropriate encounters with Weinstein include Lupita Nyong’o, Uma Thurman, Lena Headey, and Lea Seydoux.
“No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet...Your voices have inspired a movement for change across the country and around the world,” the company said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “The company regrets that it cannot undo the damage Harvey Weinstein caused, but hopes that today’s events will mark a new beginning.”