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California lawmaker wants to outlaw Weinstein-style secret settlements

(Photo: Getty Images/AFP, Mark Ralston)

One apparent hallmark of things like the Harvey Weinstein scandal in which a wealthy public figure is accused of sexual harassment or abuse is that many alleged victims are unable to speak on the topic because of secret legal settlements that involve accepting money in exchange for signing non-disclosure agreements. Now, California State Senator Connie Leyva is looking to change that by introducing legislation that will require settlements like that to be made public, preventing people like Fox News hosts and Fox News executives from hiding behind settlements. This comes from Variety, which says Leyva hasn’t drafted the actual language of the bill yet, but she hopes to introduce it next year.

Speaking with Variety, Leyva said that the secrecy in these settlements “hurts victims and enables perpetrators to continue to do this and remain hidden,” and she thinks that forcing them to be public “might actually be able to help some of these survivors.” Her decision to announce this plan comes as the California State Legislature is also facing a sexual harassment scandal, with over 140 female lawmakers, staffers, and lobbyists signing a letter about a “pervasive” culture of sexual harassment in the state government. Variety says California is “examining its procedures related to sexual harassment complaints” and Leyva believes her legislation will receive “broad support.”


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