More than two years after the inception of #MeToo movement, Harvey Weinstein is not an “alleged rapist” anymore. In what’s being hailed as a landmark trial, on Monday, a New York jury held former film producer and convicted sex offender guilty of sexual assault in the first degree involving one woman and rape in the third degree involving another. The infamous movie mogul was handcuffed and was taken into custody after the verdict. Harvey faces a minimum sentence of at least five years in prison. And after more than 100 testimonies and the subsequent global movement later, this might not look enough, but it is the beginning of something important and, for the moment, let’s hail the verdict for just that.
It was on October 5, 2017, that the clock started ticking for Harvey with journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s incriminating story in The New York Times. Here's a timeline of events that led him to court.
It was the first time actress Ashley Judd accused Harvey Weinstein on record but she was not the only one with a blow by blow account of her ordeal with him. The story covered a timeline of over three decades narrating Harvey's sexual exploits throughout his career. And while he did release a public statement, it sadly opened with an explanation for his misconduct, which he very conveniently attributed to working in “the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about workplace and behaviour were different.”
Little would have Harvey known that the non-apologetic “apology,” reeking of his deep-seated hypocrisy would agitate over 100 women within a couple of days. The accounts were jarring and Harvey was soon shown doors from his own production company. It only accelerated from there.
On October 10, 2017, Ronan Farrow wrote a story for New Yorker where he filed testimonies of 13 different women against Harvey. Soon enough on November 6, 2017, he followed it with an incriminating story on how Harvey employed ex-Mossad agents (the national intelligence agency of Israel) to keep a track on women who might reveal his ugly face to the world.
While all these narratives constantly threatened Harvey’s positioning in Hollywood, they also catalysed a unique movement. On October 16, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged people to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and what followed was almost unprecedented. From #BalanceTonPorc in France to #Ana_kaman in Arab countries, it did not take long for #MeToo to culminate into a global movement.
Consequently, many influential names were brought down including actor Larry Nassar, Roy Price, former president of Amazon, chef John Besh, actors Kevin Spacey, Aziz Ansari, comedian Bill Cosby, and more. Closer home, the likes of Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Sajid Khan, Anu Malik, MJ Akbar, and more faced the #MeToo heat. Now, as the #MeToo reached Oscars and Golden Globes subsequently and also led way to another substantial movement, #TimesUp, just one question remained: how many of those accused actually faced legal consequences?
While any concrete actions, whatsoever, remained a distant dream in India, the scene overseas wasn't too helpful either. Though a handful of men did face professional consequences for their misdemeanors, apart from Larry Nassar and Bill Cosby, a few faced actual legal penalisation.
The fact that it took so look for Harvey to be finally held convicted just solidifies what I am trying to establish here.
While Harvey Weinstein finally turned himself in to authorities on May 25, 2018, he was reported to be sitting comfortably on a house arrest in his New York apartment in October 2018 as he awaited trial for two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, two counts of rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
Then there were the likes of Lindsay Lohan who felt “bad'' for the Hollywood Executive. NBC Universal’s CEO, Stephen Burke, designer Donna Karan, and more joined the league. Having followed the movement for over a year, the Twitteratti insisted that nothing really happens to industry power players like Harvey, that they always find a way out of it. Aziz Ansari’s unapologetic comeback to Netflix only supported the idea.
To go back to all these harrowing details and then to think of Weinstein’s conviction today is really something. He still faces four charges of sexual assault in LA and the verdict for his sentencing has been scheduled for March 11, 2020. Though he faces a minimum of five years in prison, a sentence of up to 25 years can also be levied on him. And while it may not be enough of a punishment, it is enough to ignite hopes. Just like us, Twitterati is elated at the conviction. Here's what they have to say:
#HarveyWeinsteinGuilty For anyone who says if someone is powerful enough, they can pay off the judge and jury, to give them an acquittal. That's what some say about #MichaelJackson's acquittal, this is proof that it doesn't matter how powerful you are. Guilty is guilty. pic.twitter.com/QoDkO1AE7q— Catherine (Kathleen) Curtin (@kathleencurtinc) February 25, 2020
#HarveyWeinsteinGuilty and is in jail now. He was stunned when he was cuffed and limped away in custody. He is finally paying for a career of sexual abuse, including harassing my former students at film school when they interned for him. #MeToo https://t.co/Jbn384o6up— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) February 24, 2020
Mad respect and love to all the brave women who made this guilty verdict happen today.— Nahanni Fontaine (@NahanniFontaine) February 24, 2020
It took an enormous amount of courage, strength and determination for women to go up against this monster and his group of conspirators.
Women did this. We see you.#HarveyWeinsteinGUILTY pic.twitter.com/99xROJrriE
Here is another win for #MeToo— Kuduishe Kisowile (@Kudu_ze_Kudu) February 24, 2020
For our supporters.
Another loss to rapists.
Today, Mother Nature won. Lady of Justice Won. #MeToo won.#HarveyWeinsteinGuilty pic.twitter.com/LOGg4Bhq50
As Twitter celebrates Harvey's conviction, there are also statements being unearthed. Statements and testimonies of those who supported the predator despite being aware of his misconducts, of those who supported him blindly. And, we hope the conviction comes across as a message as well as a warning. For now, let's celebrate the power of personal narratives and the courage of every single woman who stood up against Harvey Weinstein.
Featured Image: Twitter
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