Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on two charges on Monday – rape in the third degree and criminal sexual acts in the first degree – drew swift cheers from many in the entertainment industry, seeing it as an incomplete yet important step for criminal justice in the #MeToo era.
“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. #ConvictWeinstein #Guilty” tweeted Ashley Judd, an actor, activist and one of the first women to go on the record with Weinstein accusations for the New York Times.
Annabella Sciorra, who testified that Weinstein raped her in 1993, expressed mixed feelings over the result. The actor’s allegation levelled at the producer didn’t lead to a conviction.
“I spoke for myself and with the strength of the 80-plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart,” she said in a statement. “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.”
“The jury came back. Harvey Weinstein is found guilty. He is. He did this,” tweeted actor Mia Kirshner, who accused Weinstein of harassment in a hotel room – a common pattern of Weinstein’s predation, as revealed in reporting and in the New York trial.
Daryl Hannah, who claimed that Weinstein tried to assault her, published a thread of tweets calling it “a mark of progress” but that there was still a long way to go. “Today I feel a sense of deep love and appreciation for the women who testified and an immense amount of gratitude to our allies,” she wrote.
Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of rape, said on a conference call with journalists that “today is a powerful day and a huge step forward in collective healing.”
“I am heartened for his victims and for all those who said #metoo and #TimesUp that some justice has been done,” tweeted actor and director Elizabeth Banks.
The once-mighty film mogul was convicted on two charges by a jury of seven men and five women in New York on Monday after five days of deliberation. Weinstein was acquitted, however, on three other charges, including the two most serious ones: predatory sexual assault and rape in the first degree, which could have incurred a life sentence. He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on 11 March, and faces a minimum of five years and possible 25 years in prison.
Still, many heralded some jail time for Weinstein. “HARVEY WEINSTEIN HAS BEEN HANDCUFFED & TAKEN TO JAIL!” tweeted actor Rosie Perez, who testified in the trial to corroborate Sciorra’s story. “I CONGRATULATE [Sciorra] & ALL WHO CAME FORWARD FOR THEIR BRAVERY. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH BUT SURVIVORS TAKE COURAGE! THIS IS STILL A GREAT WIN!”
“The beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters,” said actor Mira Sorvino, who was one of dozens of women to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Sorvino believed for years she was blacklisted by Weinstein after she rejected his advances in his 1990s, which the Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson confirmed in an interview after the reports on Weinstein’s abuse by the New York Times and the New Yorker in October 2017.
“Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense,” tweeted actor Rosanna Arquette, one of the first and most prominent actors to go on the record with her story of sexual assault by Weinstein, in a hotel room in the early 1990s. “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.”
“I applaud the women who bravely stepped forward to help forever alter the conversation around what they – and all of us – have to put up with. Gratified to see some justice being served here,” tweeted actor Anthony Rapp, who, in the flood of revelations after the Weinstein reporting, publicly alleged actor Kevin Spacey made sexual advances toward him when Rapp was 14.
“Harvey Weinstein is a convicted rapist. No matter how hard the defense might try, he will remain a convicted rapist til the day he dies,” tweeted Ellen Barkin.
“This is just the beginning,” tweeted actor Julianne Moore, who also called for support of Time’s Up, Hollywood’s #MeToo-initiative, to “fight for safety, equity & justice in every workplace”.
“May Harvey Weinstein spend what remains of his life behind bars, thinking about all the terrible crimes he committed against women and may find some measure of peace in his punishment,” tweeted writer and author of the book Bad Feminist Roxane Gay.
Actor Dominique Huett, who accused Weinstein of sexual assault in 2010, also welcomed the decision. “The verdict cannot change what Weinstein did but I hope that people have a better understanding about why victim-shaming must end and why women that dare speak out deserve support,” she said in a statement. Like other victims, I now have some peace knowing he is behind bars and will not harm anyone else.”
Weinstein now faces four charges in a criminal trial in Los Angeles, as director Judd Apatow reminded on Twitter. “This is just the beginning of holding him accountable.”
In the US, Rainn offers support at 800-656-4673 or by chat at Rainn.org. In the UK, the rape crisis national freephone helpline is at 0808-802-9999. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800-737-7328) or 1800respect.org.au. Other international helplines can be found at Ibiblio.org.