The company is extending the financial assistance any woman with what it deems a “valid sexual harassment claim” against the disgraced mogul, who has faced waves of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse spanning three decades. The latest Thiel-Weinstein news comes on the heels of Charles Harder’s exit as Harvey Weinstein’s attorney. Harder had represented Thiel in the milestone Hulk Hogan legal victory over Gawker.
A bounty offer is a staple of the business plan of Legalist, which offered last month to pay legal filing fees for anyone looking to sue Equifax after the credit company’s massive data breach compromised consumers’ information. Looking to advertise its platform via a hot news story, Legalist issued a press release with its Equifax offer. The Weinstein case, which has dominated the headlines for the last two weeks, is another topical opportunity for promotion.
But Eva Shang, one of Legalist’s founders, says the company’s motive is genuine interest in the case, not opportunism. She said the company has made some offers in other previous cases that were higher than $100,000. As the Weinstein saga has unfolded, she said, it revealed real needs on the part of those pursuing complaints. “Especially as a female founder,” she told Deadline, “as I read these reports of eight cases of settlements being paid to women, for very modest amounts and without a single case being filed, it seemed like a situation where we could help women get the justice they deserve.”
The creation of the Legalist and other litigation finance companies, which fund their operations with shares of winning plaintiffs’ verdicts, has unnerved some journalists in the wake of the Gawker case. While the companies say they level the playing field for those without the financial resources to pursue legal claims, critics contend that Thiel and others with deep pockets have an agenda to sponsor a systematic push-back against legitimate media outlets.
Gossip website The Blast first reported the news of the Weinstein offer.