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The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC announced that it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy and entered into an agreement to sell its assets to a Dallas-based equity firm.
It also announced that it is ending all nondisclosure agreements that prevented victims of alleged sexual misconduct at the hands of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein from talking about their experiences.
The Weinstein Co. will enter into a "stalking horse" agreement with an affiliate of Lantern Capital Partners in conjunction with entering into bankruptcy proceedings.
"Under the agreement, Lantern will purchase substantially all of the assets of the Company, subject to certain conditions including approval of the Bankruptcy Court. The Board selected Lantern in part due to Lantern's commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern," said the company in a statement released late Monday.
But it was the second and third paragraphs of the statement that are likely to draw even greater attention in light of the many women who have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexually harassment and abuse.
"Today, the Company also takes an important step toward justice for any victims who have been silenced by Harvey Weinstein. 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 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. No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet. 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 announcement comes after a group of investors, led by former Obama administration official, Maria Contreras-Sweet, tried and failed to purchase the assets of The Weinstein Co. earlier this month. That deal, which would have re-invented the firm as a female-run company, collapsed upon the discovery of debt previously unknown by the investors.
Weinstein has been accused of raping or sexually assaulting many women over decades.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has brought suit against The Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, issued a statement praising the announcement.
"This is a watershed moment for efforts to address the corrosive effects of sexual misconduct in the workplace. 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."
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