For the first time in decades, the over 80 women who accused movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and misconduct are seeing justice. The 67-year-old was found guilty of two out of five charges in a New York City courthouse today: sexual assault in the first degree, in regards to the testimony of former Project Runway production assistant Miriam Haley, as well as rape in the third degree, per the testimony of actress Jessica Mann. He was acquitted of the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault. Weinstein has denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex. Today, the industry celebrates the end of his influence, the proven power of #MeToo, and the dawn of a new era.
With the producer now facing 25 years in prison, an example has been set for the rest of Hollywood. Weinstein was not the only powerful figure accused of misconduct during the 2017 reckoning, but his guilty verdict will also hopefully serve as the first domino of justice. Time's Up emphasised this notion a statement released after the news broke:
“This trial — and the jury’s decision today — marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young and all the Silence Breakers for their bravery and resolve as they faced this man in court. We continue to believe them — all of them — and continue to be in solidarity with them.
“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made since the Weinstein Silence Breakers ignited an unstoppable movement. In two short years, TIME’S UP helped pass new laws to help survivors achieve justice, helped thousands of individuals take on harassers and abusers in court, and changed the game when it comes to how matters of safety and equity in the workplace are understood.
“While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broken system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues. Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back.”
Other industry figures reacted on Twitter:
20 years ago, Harvey told me when a woman says the sex wasn’t consensual, “Sometimes you have to write a check.“ Turns out sometimes you have to go to prison.— Kim Masters (@kimmasters) February 24, 2020
Don’t forget- Harvey Weinstein faces four more charges in Los Angeles. This is just the beginning of holding him accountable. https://t.co/BY3nNxmwNt— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) February 24, 2020
"I'm Harvey Weinstein-- you know what I can do."— jodikantor (@jodikantor) February 24, 2020
Weinstein, whose signature throughout forty years of allegations was lack of accountability, has been declared guilty on two counts.
This is a developing story.