I know I speak for a majority of women in Hollywood — and certainly the dozens of survivors who were abused by Harvey Weinstein over the years — when I say, thank goodness he was not absolved of the heinous crimes he was proven to have committed.
I could only imagine the acute and massive outrage that would have been voiced had the disgraced mogul been acquitted of all charges against him in his New York rape trial. Many of us lived in utter fear these torturous past few weeks that he was going to escape conviction entirely.
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Being convicted of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape is clear vindication for those who were subjected to Weinstein’s flagrant abuse of power and revolting acts of sexual assault and rape. At the same time, there are those who believe his acquittal on three of the five potential criminal charges stopped short of full justice and robbed us of knowing he’d spend the rest of his life in jail. His crimes carry a sentence of five to 29 years, and we won’t know how much of that time he will serve until Judge James Burke sentences him on March 11.
But lest we forget, Weinstein still faces four sex-crime charges in Los Angeles, including rape and forcible oral copulation. If convicted, he faces up to 28 years in prison.
No matter how many years he winds up spending behind bars, it’s curtains for Weinstein thanks to the six brave women who testified in this case and to more than 100 women who boldly spoke out against him over the past two years since the New York Times and New Yorker exposés. One of the most crucial messages of his conviction is that other perpetrators of sexual assault and rape will know that they can be held responsible for their criminal actions.
However, the cynic in me questions whether this marks a real turning point for Hollywood.
Our senior music editor, Jem Aswad, made this chilling point to me:
“Yes, R. Kelly is currently in jail on multiple sexual-misconduct charges, and several other artists and executives have been run out of the business on charges of sexual misconduct, but there’s a stronger sense of relief from those who dodged similar bullets than there is actual change in the air.”
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