Harvey Weinstein: a name that sends shudders through Hollywood. Fortunately, his victims can have some peace of mind as he surrendered himself on May 26 after being charged for rape, sex abuse, sexual misconduct and a criminal sex act. The charges related to incidents involving two women, who were not identified. He was released on US $1 million bail after he agreed to wear a GPS tracker and surrender his passport as well.
Though he surrendered himself, his lawyer has revealed that he does not plan to plead guilty. Instead, even after multiple accusations, he maintains that the sex was consensual.
Who is Harvey Weinstein?
He was one of the biggest film producers in Hollywood. Founder of now bankrupt “The Weinstein Company”, he was ‘the’ person to know if an actor wanted to become successful. In October 2017, The New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein. It has since been revealed that his predatory ways were an open secret in Hollywood. Following the article’s publication, countless of women have come forth with their own accusations against Weinstein including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The wave of voices speaking up has inspired “Time’s Up”, a movement against sexual harassment that has raised $20 million for its legal defence fund for people who have been sexually harassed. This incident has also brought to light the systemic barriers preventing victims from getting justice. Over the past few decades, Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women. As one of the top film producers in Hollywood, he is also has the power to make or break an actor’s career. Weinstein’s position of coercion made many of his victims feel helpless.
However, his arrest has shown that society is changing. Perhaps victims no longer have to be the powerless ones. Already victims of other sexual predators are coming forth with their stories, and in the film industry both Kevin Spacey and Louis CK have been accused. The hope is that one day the arrest of sexual predators will no longer be celebrated but an expected course of action.