EXCLUSIVE: As opening arguments in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial continue today, dozens of the much-accused producer’s alleged victims are speaking out to show support for those who will testify in the courtroom, as well as share their stories with the world.
“We stand in solidarity with Annabella Sciorra, Mimi Haleyi, Dawn Dunning and all of the women who will courageously testify against Harvey Weinstein in court,” the 27 Silence Breakers claimed Wednesday as they launched an Instagram handle to coincide with the much-anticipated trial really getting down to brass tacks.
“For decades, Weinstein wielded his power to mentally, physically and professionally abuse and silence women with impunity,” the Silence Breakers plan to say on @_NoLongerSilent.
“Starting today, he will finally be forced to face his accusers and reckon with the consequences of his monstrous crimes. Whether we are in the court room or supporting our fellow Silence Breakers from around the world, we are all in awe of their selflessness and bravery. We will continue to support them by speaking out and telling our stories until this serial predator is brought to justice.”
This is the first, and far from the last, such post from the Silence Breakers, Deadline has learned. To help keep the much covered case in the public’s sight, the group plans to regularly put up testimonials from those who claim Weinstein sexually assaulted or harassed them.
In fact, later today, the next post online from the Silence Breakers will be from Larissa Gomes. Having gone public in late 2017 about an alleged encounter with an aggressive Weinstein in a Toronto hotel room in 2001, in the Instagram post today, Gomes, who later took Weinstein to court, will detail her experience and insights about the trial.
“My name is Larissa Gomes and I am a Harvey Weinstein Survivor since 2001,” the post says. “I am stronger today than I ever imagined I could be,” the La Femme Nikita actress adds. “So, as a single mom to a 4 year old son, I hope I can use this significant experience with HW to make some kind of impact toward safer workplaces for future generations, to change the laws that deafen those interests and to kill the cultural environment that enables these abusers to thrive,” Gomes also writes (see her full post below).
With women who are currently fighting their own civil cases against Weinstein, the 27 signatories to today’s statement include Gomes, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan. Additionally, Caitlin Dulany, Dominique Huett, Erika Rosenbaum, Jasmine Lobe, Jessica Barth, Kadian Noble, Katherine Kendall, Anna Wilding, Lauren Sivan Lisa Rose, Louise Godbold, Louisette Geiss, Lucia Evans, Lysette Anthony Melissa Sagemiller Nesic, Melissa Thompson, Paula Williams, Rowena Chiu, Sarah Ann Masse, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Zoe Brock and Lauren O’Connor also signed the latest Silence Breakers correspondence.
In the opening days of the likely two-month trial that started January 6, Arquette and McGowan appeared with others in front of the Criminal Courts Building in lower Manhattan. The sometimes walker-utilizing 67-year-old Weinstein is facing life behind bars if found guilty on the five felony charges in the criminal case.
First arrested in late May 2018, Weinstein is facing multiple counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, the 67-year-old producer is now out on a $5 million bail after first entering a not guilty plea on July 9, 2018. Weinstein entered a plea of not guilty again on August 26 last year when a new indictment was added.
While not 100% confirmed if it will be this week or not, Sopranos alum Sciorra is set to testify in the trial allegedly being raped by Weinstein in the mid-1990s as part of a “prior bad acts” portion of the case.
Accused by Judd in a now temporarily halted case, failing to get a sex-trafficking class action tossed out, and a more recent lawsuit from a woman who says he abused her when she was 16 in 2002, Weinstein is also facing allegations from close to 100 other women that he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them. At present, several of the women, a number of who signed today’s statement, are refusing to participate in the potential $25 million settlement that is part of an overall $45 million deal on the table.
In addition to the multiple sexual assault charges announced on January 6 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney and the NYC rape trial itself, Weinstein is also under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as other probes by the Manhattan D.A.’s office, the NYPD, the LAPD and others globally.
Here’s Gomes’ full @_NoLongerSilent statement:
My name is Larissa Gomes and I am a Harvey Weinstein Survivor since 2001.
I am stronger today than I ever imagined I could be. The experience was traumatic for me, especially at such a young age, I didn’t realize till much later but the effects stuck with me and manifested in ways that made it hard for me to continue working to the best of my abilities. I know now that healing can’t take place in the same environment that hurt you. So, as a single mom to a 4 year old son, I hope I can use this significant experience with HW to make some kind of impact toward safer workplaces for future generations, to change the laws that deafen those interests and to kill the cultural environment that enables these abusers to thrive. The heart warming friendships I have forged with other survivors, has been positively healing and I am so beyond grateful to each and every one of them. Being a silence breaker created a fire within me, I feel like I finally have my voice back, and that, along with all of us working toward justice, is what it takes to make change happen.
I believe in justice for silence breakers and all survivors because justice will have an empowering ripple effect around the globe for all survivors affected by abuse of power. The time is now for a seismic shift to happen – in the legal system, in our laws and policies, in the companies that enable and cover up, and finally in public awareness of the impact of trauma in victims lives. If it was your loved one – would it matter then, would you think twice? Hopefully. In the end we still have hope that all of this will matter, and I will continue to be a loud and reckoning voice letting everyone know, it does.