Fallen Hollywood film studio executive, Harvey Weinstein, 67, is due to be sentenced on March 11, after his conviction of two felony sex crimes.
After five days of deliberation on a roughly five month trial, jurors found Weinstein guilty of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman in 2006 and third-degree rape for a 2013 attack on another woman. Together, the charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Now, he is being held without bail.
However, Weinstein was acquitted on three other counts: two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape. More serious crimes than his convictions, if found guilty, Weinstein would likely have served longer sentences.
“For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you,” said Ashley Judd, one of the women who came forward accusing Weinstein of inappropriate advances.
Rise of #MeToo
Weinstein’s high profile case ignited the MeToo Movement, a campaign outing sexual assault perpetrators. Although gender rights and equity activist, Tarana Burke, created the hashtag and concept years before, when journalist Ronan Farrow reported the stories of thirteen women narrating how Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted them, the term re-emerged and sparked a movement.
In a January story by Business Insider, Farrow alleges NBC attempted to kill his story because Weinstein’s lawyers used information of sexual harassment complaints against popular host Matt Lauer. Yet, the story’s release formed a snow storm of women who publicly detailed abuses from Weinstein that spanned over two decades.
To date, 87 women have announced Weinstein sexually assaulted them. From Salma Hayek to Lupita N’yongo, he has been accused of a range of behaviors, from forcing them to perform sexual acts to insisting he give them massages. In some cases, he threatened or canceled their careers.
Following his conviction, the MeToo Movement released a statement. “Harvey Weinstein operated with impunity and without remorse for decades in Hollywood. Yet, it still took years, and millions of voices raised, for one man to be held accountable by the justice system,” wrote Luann Algoso.
One of the first women to come forward about Weinstein, Rose McGowan posted, “a powerful day & a huge step forward in our collective healing‚” after the verdict.
Before his trial, Weinstein reached a tentative $25 million deal with dozens of accusers. Also, his company, Weinstein Company, entered bankruptcy in 2019.
Weinstein, who reportedly suffers from diabetes and a chronic spine condition, repeatedly violated his conditions of bail during the trial. Several times he removed his ankle monitoring device, but the trials presiding judge, James Burke, put off placing stricter conditions of his bail. Rather, he upped his bail from $1 million to $5 million. Following the conviction, Judge Burke requested that Harvey be placed in infirmary command for protection.
To protect a predator
The Weinstein conviction comes a couple of weeks after a hailstorm of disapprovals were voiced against CBS anchor, Gayle King for questioning WNBA veteran legend, Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s dismissed rape case in 2004. The interview between King and Leslie occurred shortly after he passed in a tragic helicopter accident that also killed one of his daughters, Gianna Bryant and seven other people.
A main criticism launched was that King has a record of targeting Black men accused of sexual crimes, while not being as vigilant in covering powerful white men. More notably, Weinstein, in which she and her best friend, media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, have been documented as having a personal relationship with him.
When CBS asked Winfrey about the Weinstein case before the verdict, she said she tried to find the “silver lining” in the situation.
One person visibly upset by Weinstein’s conviction is Bill Cosby and his camp. Cosby’s publicist wrote on the jailed, aged, actor’s social media, “sad day in the American judicial system,” for “wealthy and famous men” who seek due process in the justice system. Currently, Cosby is serving a three to 10 year sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
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