New York (AFP) – Talks were still on Monday between a group of investors and the troubled Weinstein Company, despite New York prosecutors throwing a spanner in the works by filing a lawsuit against the movie studio, source said Monday.
The deal, led by former Obama administration official and businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet to buy The Weinstein Company for a reported $500 million, was widely reported to have been imminent before the state attorney general filed a lawsuit Sunday.
Prosecutors accuse Weinstein, the company and his brother of failing to protect employees from his alleged sexual misconduct despite multiple complaints to human resources.
New York’s attorney general said he acted out of fear that the imminent sale could leave victims without adequate redress.
The Wall Street Journal said the deal fell apart because the lawsuit introduced too much uncertainty and that the company would now likely enter bankruptcy reorganization.
But a source close to the talks insisted to AFP that negotiations were still on. “The attorney general’s comments have shed a new perspective to the deal,” the source admitted, calling discussions “very fluid.”
“I hope that this deal does not go away for these people’s jobs because then there will be nobody monitoring anything,” Bob Weinstein was quoted as saying by the Journal.
The bid from the group of investors led by Contreras-Sweet reportedly included a fund to compensate victims and plans to appoint a majority-woman board.
Weinstein’s career went into free fall last October after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed, assaulted and even raped women going back 40 years. The accusations now come from more than 100 women.
The twice-married father of five is being investigated by British and US police, but has not been charged with any crime. He denies having non-consensual sex and is reportedly in treatment for sex addiction.