Harvey Weinstein accusers celebrate ‘brave women’ after guilty verdict
Several of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are speaking out after the disgraced movie mogul was found guilty of rape and a felony sex crime, but acquitted on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which each carried a potential life sentence.
After days of deliberation, the jury came to its decision Monday, marking a major development since several women came forward with the first of many allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein nearly three years ago, catapulting the #MeToo movement.
Among the first to respond to the verdict were the Silence Breakers, a group made up of 23 of Weinstein’s accusers, including Ashley Judd and Rosanna Arquette, who have been vocal in the time leading up to his trial.
“While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator,” their statement read.
“This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out. Despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team, they courageously shared their stories with the jury, the courtroom and the world.
Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and a felony sex crime Monday in his sexual assault trial. Later in the day, he was taken to a hospital with chest pains.
“This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers,” the statement continued. “Their bravery will forever be remembered in history. Our fight is far from over. As we have said from our very first statement together as Silence Breakers: we refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice.”
Judd and Arquette also spoke out individually on Twitter, saluting the “brave women” who testified against Weinstein. Actress Annabella Sciorra, aspiring actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant at Weinstein Co. Mimi Haley delivered the trial’s three key testimonies.
“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,” Judd wrote.
“Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense,” Arquette tweeted. “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.”
Heading into the proceedings, Weinstein was charged with two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree rape.
Here’s a sampling of more reactions, from accusers and their supporters, to Monday’s verdict:
“My testimony was painful but necessary. I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart. 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.”
“This jury worked with an incredibly narrow and unjust set of laws governing sexual assault, and though he was not convicted on all counts, Harvey Weinstein will have to answer for his crimes. Harvey Weinstein operated with impunity and without remorse for decades in Hollywood. Yet, it still took years, and millions of voices raised, for one man to be held accountable by the justice system.”
Read Burke’s entire statement here.
“Justice was served today and Harvey Weinstein was held accountable for his crimes. But it is only a beginning. We look forward to the Weinstein prosecution in Los Angeles where he will be brought to answer for other offenses. We hail the courage and conviction of the powerful survivors who brought this case to trial and saw it through to the verdict. This verdict sends a thunderous message to other harassers and abusers: You can’t run and you can’t hide any longer. Increasingly, if you harass or abuse, you will be reported, you will get caught and you will be prosecuted.”
“Today’s guilty verdict in the Harvey Weinstein case is a clarion call of justice for the countless women whose voices have been suppressed in workplaces throughout society. The Hollywood Commission’s mission does not end with the long overdue prosecution of Mr. Weinstein. Our goal of guaranteeing a safe work environment throughout the entertainment community remains more important than ever. We must continue to develop policies and practices that make systemic change permanent and to foster a culture that reflects such change. It is our hope that more district attorneys will rethink which cases they present for trial and provide appropriate critical expert witness testimony to support those cases. Though one conviction is only the beginning, the Hollywood Commission views the Weinstein verdict as a strong statement to our industry that when we honor the voices of survivors progress is possible.”
“I hope this criminal conviction will give Weinstein the time to think while he sits in jail on Rikers Island and awaits his sentence. I hope he thinks about how his abuse of power sexually harmed countless women with dreams of making it Hollywood. I sincerely hope that Weinstein also will, one day, apologize to the many women whose lives were set off course. The critical and tenacious work by the #SilenceBreakers cannot be underestimated. The Silence Breakers boldly raised awareness about how devastating male abuse of power can be and especially about how Weinstein’s shameful and criminal behavior caused such harm. 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. Like other victims, I now have some peace knowing he is behind bars and will not harm anyone else. I am grateful to the jury for their civic duty.”
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