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#MeToo: Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein found guilty


While the jury at the New York county supreme court found Weinstein guilty of two sex crimes, it acquitted him of the charge of being a sexual predator.

Our Correspondent

Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful Hollywood film producer who fell from grace after several women came forward three years ago to accuse him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct ranging from groping to rape, was found guilty on Monday 24 February after a trial in the New York county supreme court.

The New York Times newspaper reported that the jury found Weinstein guilty of rape and forced oral sex in two separate instances but acquitted him of three other counts, including the charge that he was a sexual predator.

Complaints about Weinstein's behaviour and actions had triggered a flood of accusations worldwide, popularly known as the #MeToo movement, that exposed the shenanigans of men in positions of power in various industries who were preying upon women around them.

The producer quickly became a symbol not just of the casting-couch culture in Hollywood, but also of the abuse women had endured for hundreds of years.

A year later, the movement found its echo in India when several men in the country's many film industries as well as in other areas, including the news media, were accused of sexual harassment and molestation by women co-workers or those who were seeking work.

In the Weinstein trial, six women testified that Harvey, co-founder with his brother Bob of Miramax studio in 1979 and The Weinstein Company in 2005, had sexually assaulted them.

The Oscar-winning producer of The English Patient (1996), Shakespeare In Love (1998), Chicago (2002), The King's Speech (2010) and The Artist (2011) and of popular films like Pulp Fiction (1994) and Gangs Of New York (2002) sat motionless and displayed little emotion as the verdict was read out. “But I’m innocent,” he repeated three times to his lawyers.

Minutes later, Weinstein was handcuffed and led out of court, limping between two court officers on his way to jail to await sentencing. He faces a possible prison term of anywhere from five to 29 years.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Weinstein will face trial in a separate case across the United States in Los Angeles with prosecutors saying they would be moving ahead to press charges. This case could see a lot more witnesses being called up and may result in a longer sentence, the newspaper said.

A statement released on behalf of the #MeToo movement said, 'Today, a jury confirmed what we all know: Harvey Weinstein committed sexual assault. This wouldn’t have been possible without the voices of the silence breakers in and outside of the courtroom, the survivors who courageously testified, and the jurors who, despite an unrelenting and unethical defense strategy, voted to find an unremorseful Harvey Weinstein guilty.

'For some, this has been a Hollywood battle between famous actresses and a larger-than-life producer. Some have tired and begun to ask whether we should care about these Hollywood celebrities.

'We would do well to ask ourselves how many of these women’s names we can actually remember, beyond the boldface few? Certainly, Harvey’s name will be seared in our collective memories, but many of the survivors will be quietly taking stock of the impact.'

Related topics

Casting Couch Sexual harassment