Feb 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

#MeToo gets Weinstein

A man carries out Harvey Weinstein's walker

A man carries out Weinstein's walker. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein is now a convicted rapist, two years and four months after accusations against him helped ignite the #MeToo movement.

Why it matters: To date, #MeToo has resulted in hundreds of powerful men losing their jobs. Seven have been criminally convicted, with four others still facing charges.

Between the lines: Prosecutors won a jury conviction for rape and assault that was based mostly on the credibility of the victims' testimonies.

  • Weinstein faces the possibility of 5–25 years, but was acquitted on three other charges, including predatory sexual assault.
  • "The case ... was an unusually risky one for Manhattan prosecutors, who had little or no physical or forensic evidence to support the women’s allegations," the N.Y. Times reports.
  • "[T]he jury accepted the complex set of facts prosecutors laid out, that [Mimi Haleyi] and [Jessica Mann] could be raped or sexually assaulted by Weinstein on one day and consent to sex with him or send him a warm note another — out of fear or denial, or out of deference to Weinstein’s economic power over them," Irin Carmon writes for NYMag.

The big picture: It took decades for Weinstein to face any accountability, and if not for the overwhelming number of accusers, it's hard to believe he would have faced criminal charges.

  • At least 90 women have accused Weinstein of misconduct, but the criminal charges he eventually faced in New York involved only two victims.
  • Manhattan's district attorney Cyrus Vance — who declined to charge Weinstein in 2015 over groping allegations — was a regular at the trial, the N.Y. Times notes.
  • Weinstein now faces an additional four felony charges in Los Angeles.

The bottom line: It wasn't the legal system that did the job and ended what was reportedly an open secret in Hollywood.

  • It was the result of accusers risking a great deal to come forward and powerful reporting by the N.Y. Times and New Yorker, which stood by their reporters in printing the stories in the face of Weinstein's legal threats.
Illustration of Harvey Weinstein being carried out in handcuffs
Courtroom sketch of Weinstein being led out of court. Image: Elizabeth Williams via AP
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