Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted of two sexual assault charges. The once-giant of the Hollywood industry has become a fitting monument to the power and need for the #MeToo movement, and the unwillingness of victims to live in silence.
Weinstein was convicted of a first-degree criminal sex act, forcing oral sex onto his assistant Miriam Haley and a third-degree rape charge against actress Jessica Mann. This was despite attempts by his legal counsel to have charges dropped and cases thrown out, based on his accusers having continuing relationships with Weinstein.
“These would not be the last of the accusations, as more of his victims came forth to share their stories, eventually giving birth to the #MeToo movement”
Weinstein was originally accused by over a dozen women in October 2017 of sexual harassment, assault and rape. However, these would not be the last of the accusations as more of his victims came forth to share their stories, eventually giving birth to the #MeToo movement. It became increasingly clear that Weinstein had a history of such behaviour and would use his considerable influence within the film industry and personal fortune to see to it that these incidents never came to light. However, he would not be able to stem the tide, and on May 25th 2018 he was arrested in New York after surrendering to the police.
“He would ask these titans of industry, much as Weinstein had once been, for letters of support in this time, calling out the injustice of what had happened to him”
Weinstein has appeared increasingly desperate as the trial continued, which the unsealing of court documents would show. When asked for a response to allegations made by Jennifer Aniston Weinstein said ‘Jen Aniston should be killed’, highlighting his infamous temper and belief he was untouchable. The same court documents talk about having those who spoke out about him placed on a red flag list. Actors such as Rose McGowan, Rowena Chiu as well male supporters such as Ben Affleck, were all on this list. The documents also saw him reach out to men of incredible wealth and influence, with Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Tim Cook of Apple being two prominent contacts. He would ask these titans of industry, much as Weinstein had once been, for letters of support in this time, calling out the injustice of what had happened to him. The documents also contained a damning note from his brother Bob saying he deserved an award for his savagery and inhumanity.
Harvey Weinstein is still to face further criminal charges for rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles, and his lawyers have vowed to appeal his conviction, saying even a sentence of six years could be a death sentence due to Weinstein’s failing health.