Feb 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

#MeToo leaders react to Harvey Weinstein's rape conviction

Actor Rose McGowan and Founder of #MeToo Campaign Tarana Burke, embrace on stage at the Women's March / Women's Convention in Detroit, Michigan, on October 27

Actor Rose McGowan and #MeToo movement founder of Tarana Burke at a campaign event in Detroit. Photo: Rena Laverty/AFP via Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein's rape trial convictions on Monday mark an "incredibly important step" for the #MeToo movement and the greater fight to end gender-based violence, the campaign's leaders said in a statement.

Why it matters: Allegations that first publicly surfaced against Weinstein in 2017 helped propel Tarana Burke's MeToo movement into a global campaign. Burke and other #MeToo leaders say his being found guilty in New York of committing a sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape "sends a resounding message to survivors, to perpetrators and to allies."

The #MeToo Movement and this moment of reckoning was never about one man. It was about the many lives that he devastated and the countless people across the globe who have been afflicted with similar pain."
— Statement by Burke, Fatima Goss Graves, Ai-jen Poo, and Mónica Ramírez

Details: "To survivors, this verdict reflects the fact that the jury, like millions of other people, believed them and understand the importance of holding perpetrators accountable for their actions," said Burke and fellow movement leaders Fatima Goss Graves, Ai-jen Poo, and Mónica Ramírez in a statement.

  • "To perpetrators, it is proof that no one is above the law, not even those with power, money or visibility. To allies, it is a reminder of how important it is to stand with and by survivors when they come forward to share some of the deepest, most painful experiences."

What else they're saying: Reactions to the former Hollywood heavyweight being convicted of two of the five counts he faced in the Manhattan trial were also given by several women known as the "silence breakers," who came forward previously with allegations that they were assaulted by Weinstein — who faces charges on four counts of felony sexual assault in Los Angeles.

  • Actress Rose McGowan said via Twitter the verdict was "a huge step forward in our collective healing."
  • Actress Ashley Judd tweeted, "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."
  • Actress Mira Sorvino declared on Twitter, "The beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters. ... I am so proud to stand in the company of my fellow Silence Breakers on this historic day."
  • Actress Rosanna Arquette tweeted, "Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense .we will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited and so that it’s easier for people to report their rapes."
  • Actress Annabella Sciorra, who testified during Weinstein's trial, said in a statement released to news outlets that her testimony was "painful but necessary."
  • "I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart," Sciorra said. "While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. For in speaking truth to power we pave the way for a more just culture, free of the scourge of violence against women."

What's next: Weinstein's conviction provides an opportunity to push for necessary reforms to the legal system, along with more support for survivors, the #MeToo movement leaders' statement said.

  • "Further, it bolsters the possibility for a societal rewiring to definitively shift culture, norms and behavior necessary to eliminate sexual violence all together," the leaders added.

Go deeper: #MeToo gets Weinstein

Go deeper