MOVIE mogul and producer Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted of rape and sexual assault at his trial over the subject matter back in February this year.
This concludes a criminal investigation against Weinstein, of which has dated back to late 2017, and began in full when he was charged after turning himself in to the police back in May 2018.
He was convicted of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act against production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006 and of the third-degree rape of aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013. The jury acquitted him of the most serious charges, including those of predatory sexual assault and , of which gave him a more lenient sentence. This is among other accusations against Weinstein, of who has in total over 80 accusers against him with them going as far back as 1980 and as recent as 2015. Such allegations have piled up against the movie production since The New York Times first exposed such allegations back in October 2017. He had previously had paid a $100,000 settlement to actress Rose McGowan in the late 1990s over such accusations.
Meanwhile, the reaction to his conviction has elicited mixed reactions. On a more positive note, Gloria Allred (who represented three of the accusers) and US Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network president Scott Berkowitz welcomed the sentence, with the former claiming that ‘if you are a sexual predator and you are confused, all you have to do is remember this – 20 plus three years’ and the latter stated that ‘we hope that survivors will feel encouraged to come forward’. However, the group Silence Breakers gave a more bittersweet take, claiming that while they were happy that ‘Harvey Weinstein’s legacy will always be that he’s a convicted rapist’, his jail time will not ‘repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused’. During the trial, his lawyers tried to a gain a less strict sentence, arguing that any amount of time would be a ‘life sentence’, while the prosecutors stated that because of his ‘lifetime of abuse’, he deserved a long time behind bars, and accused Weinstein’s defence of ‘twisting the truth’.
Weinstein has confessed that while he felt ‘deep remorse’ for his actions, he and other men were ‘totally confused’ by events in comments noted as critical to the #MeToo movement. The initial accusations against Weinstein started what was known as the #MeToo movement, whereby historical claims of sexual abuse and current ones were given more widespread attention and taken more seriously. It also led to what was known as the Weinstein Effect, whereby numerous stars and workers in Hollywood fell because of similar accusations, including actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis C. K.