The Weinstein Company announced that it has filed for bankruptcy and is ending all non-disclosure agreements that have prevented victims of alleged sexual misconduct by disgraced co-founder Harvey Weinstein from speaking out publicly.
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On Monday, the company behind such Academy Award-winning films as "The Artist" and "The King's Speech," announced that it had entered into a "stalking horse" agreement with Lantern Capital Partners, a Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm, to purchase all the company's assets.
"The Board selected Lantern in part due to Lantern’s commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern," a press release stated.
The company also announced that it was releasing Weinstein's alleged victims from the confidentiality provisions of their non-disclosure agreements.
"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 release read.
"No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet," the statement continued. "The Company thanks the courageous individuals who have already come forward. Your voices have inspired a movement for change across the country and around the world."
The New York Attorney General's Office, which filed a lawsuit against the company last month, praised the cancelation of the agreements as a "watershed moment."
"The Weinstein Company’s agreement to release victims of and witnesses to sexual misconduct from non-disclosure agreements -- which my office has sought throughout this investigation and litigation -- will finally enable voices that have for too long been muzzled to be heard," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
He added that the lawsuit against The Weinstein Company and co-founders Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, is ongoing and that his office will ensure that "victims are compensated, employees are protected moving forward, and perpetrators and enablers of abuse are not unjustly enriched."
Schneiderman later tweeted to potential victims, no longer bound by non-disclosure agreements, to come forward.
If you believe you were a victim of or a witness to misconduct at The Weinstein Company and you wish to share your story, please get in touch with my office too: 212-416-8250.https://t.co/HRU7ICnuY2— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) March 20, 2018
In its statement, the board of The Weinstein Company thanked Schneiderman for helping them reach the agreement with Lantern.
"While we had hoped to reach a sale out of court, the Board is pleased to have a plan for maximizing the value of its assets, preserving as many jobs as possible and pursuing justice for any victims," Bob Weinstein, who is also chairman of the board, said in the statement.
Lantern co-founders Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic said in the statement that they plan to reposition the company as a "preeminent content provider, while cultivating a positive presence in the industry."
They also stated that they are committed to promoting "a diverse and transparent [work] environment."
In its bankruptcy filings, the company listed its creditors between 200 and 1,000 and assets between $600 million and $1 billion.
In its statement, the company said it "regrets that it cannot undo the damage Harvey Weinstein caused, but hopes that today’s events will mark a new beginning."
Though Harvey Weinstein has apologized for his behavior and sought professional help, his spokeswoman has said that "any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."
Following the claims and news reports, Weinstein was fired from the company that bears his name, banned from the Producer's Guild of America and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.