Just as the verdict for Harvey Weinstein was mixed, the reactions after the verdict were also mixed.
Los Angeles prosecutors scored a three-count conviction, a result that should assure Weinstein will spend his remaining years in prison. But the victory was smaller than it seemed: Of the four women whose allegations formed the basis for criminal charges, only one – Jane Doe 1, a Russian-born actress and model – had her testimony upheld by the jury on Monday.
Her statement was unequivocal: “Harvey Weinstein destroyed a part of me forever that night in 2013 and I will never get it back,” said Jane Doe 1 after the verdict. “The trial was brutal and Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to see this through to the end, and I did. I am grateful to the LA County prosecutors, including Paul Thompson, for believing in me and fighting so hard for all the victims, including myself, at trial. I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell in his lifetime.”
But the other three women who took the stand in the three-month trial — an aspiring actress (Jane Doe 2), a massage therapist (Jane Doe 3) and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Governor Gavin Newsom (Jane Doe 4) — saw their allegations end in a hung jury or an acquittal.
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In his statement after the verdict, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón acknowledged the empty half of the glass on Monday, saying he was “disappointed that the jury was divided on some counts,” adding that the alleged victims ” deserve better than what the system has given them.”
“I want to thank the survivors in this case, who have shown extraordinary courage in a case that has brought them into the national spotlight,” Gascón said. “Reporting sexual abuse is never easy. Subjecting oneself to sometimes brutal cross-examination can again be traumatizing and extremely painful. I am in awe of their fearlessness.”
Siebel Newsom, who said she never expected to testify in a criminal trial when she reported on her meeting with Weinstein in 2005 after the #MeToo movement gained momentum in 2017, endured blistering cross-examination from defense attorneys who portrayed her as a “bimbo” who carried on an affair with Weinstein to advance her fledgling acting career.
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Though her allegations eventually led the jury to hang 8-4 in favor of a conviction, on Monday she held her chin up and claimed she was raped during her meeting with Weinstein:
“Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman,” Newsom said in a written statement. “He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and what he did was rape. Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny and harassment to intimidate, humiliate and ridicule us survivors. This process was a strong reminder that as a society we have work to do. To all the survivors out there – I see you, I hear you and I stand by your side.
Her husband, whom she met while he was mayor of San Francisco, supported him: “I am so incredibly proud of my wife and all the brave women who came forward to share their truth and lift countless survivors who can’t said the governor. said. “Their strength, courage and conviction is a powerful example and inspiration to all of us. We must continue to fight to ensure survivors are supported and their voices are heard.”
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Hollywood sex abuse survivor advocacy groups also weighed in on Monday’s verdict, including the Hollywood Commission, founded in 2017 by board members Kathleen Kennedy and Nina Shaw and chaired by Anita Hill.
“Weinstein’s verdict is a much-needed indication of our commitment to justice and individual responsibility,” the commission said in a statement. “But it is only one case, despite its profile and significance. Real progress toward safer and fairer workplaces requires recognition of the institutional practices and corporate culture that tolerate abuse, discrimination, harassment and bullying.”
Women in Film Los Angeles called the acquittal a “backward step” and vowed to continue supporting the survivors.
“We hope this verdict brings some closure to all those who have spoken out in court as plaintiffs and witnesses, as well as their other victims,” WIF said in a statement. “The acquittal on the remaining charges is the latest backward step in what has become a disturbing regression against efforts to combat a culture of harassment and misconduct in Hollywood. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the survivors who came forward with heroic courage, and pledge to continue fighting to create an industry free from abuse – where accountability extends beyond the criminal justice system.”
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Although #MeToo has been going on for more than five years now, WIF said the number of reported incidents of abuse continues to increase.
“Our work is far from done,” WIF said. “In recent months, calls to our helpline have doubled and we continue to provide support and resources to anyone who has experienced harassment, abuse or discrimination while working in the entertainment industry, regardless of gender.”