Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who came to represent the pervasive sexual misbehaviour by prominent men that gave rise to the #MeToo movement, was given a 16-year prison term for raping an actress in Los Angeles in 2013.
Weinstein will likely serve the balance of his life in jail as this sentence will run concurrently with the 23-year sentence he is already serving in New York for a conviction of sexual misconduct.
Who Is Harvey Weinstein?
Weinstein was a founding member of Miramax Pictures, a well-known US studio and distributor of blockbuster movies like Shakespeare in Love and Pulp Fiction. He received an Oscar in 1999 for producing Shakespeare in Love, the year’s Best Picture winner.
He is also well-known for the films Malèna with Monica Bellucci, Gangs of New York with Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Daniel Day-Lewis, and Nine with Day-Lewis as well.
The #MeToo campaign, which aims to end the culture of silence that has allowed powerful men to abuse and harass women without consequence, was spurred by the growing number of sexual misconduct charges against Harvey Weinstein. On social media, the movement picked up steam in 2017.
What happened in October 2017?
When The New York Times published a piece detailing decades’ worth of allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, the accusations against him first came to light. Among the women who shared their stories were actors Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.
Weinstein declared that he will be taking a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company and going to therapy as a result of the accusations. But he was promptly removed from the board of his company.
The New Yorker then reported charges made by 13 more women, including three rape claims that Weinstein denied. Among those who charged Weinstein with forcing himself on them sexually were actress Asia Argento and former wannabe actress Lucia Stoller.
Several female actors who had worked with Weinstein, like Mira Sorvino, have also accused him of harassing them sexually and forcing them into partnerships. Weinstein has insisted that every sexual interaction was consensual.
Hollywood luminaries like George Clooney and Matt Damon responded to the allegations by speaking out, asking people to believe women and advocating for changes in the business. Due to the nature of his behaviour, Weinstein was given a lifetime ban by the Producers Guild of America.
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