Me Too Founder Tarana Burke, Anita Hill & Hollywood Figures React To Harvey Weinstein Verdict

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UPDATED: Tarana Burke, the founder of Me Too movement, said that Harvey Weinstein verdict “reminds us that sexual violence thrives on unchecked power and privilege. The implications reverberate far beyond Hollywood and into the daily lives of all of us in the rest of the world.”

“Harvey Weinstein operated with impunity and without remorse for decades in Hollywood. Yet, it still took years, and millions of voices raised, for one man to be held accountable by the justice system,” she said in a statement.

Burke, a civil rights activist who was one of Time’s persons of the year in 2017, said that jury “worked with an incredibly narrow and unjust set of laws governing sexual assault, and though he was not convicted on all counts, Harvey Weinstein will have to answer for his crimes.”

Burke founded Me Too in 2007 and began using the phrase to draw attention to sexual abuse and violence, after having worked with black girls from low-income communities who shared their stories.

Anita Hill, who was the main player in Clarence Thomas’ contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearing and now chairs the Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality, issued this statement today:

“Today’s guilty verdict in the Harvey Weinstein case is a clarion call of justice for the countless women whose voices have been suppressed in workplaces throughout society. The Hollywood Commission’s mission does not end with the long overdue prosecution of Mr. Weinstein. Our goal of guaranteeing a safe work environment throughout the entertainment community remains more important than ever. We must continue to develop policies and practices that make systemic change permanent and to foster a culture that reflects such change. It is our hope that more district attorneys will rethink which cases they present for trial and provide appropriate critical expert witness testimony to support those cases. Though one conviction is only the beginning, the Hollywood Commission views the Weinstein verdict as a strong statement to our industry that when we honor the voices of survivors progress is possible.”

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris also released a statement, saying, “Justice was served today and Harvey Weinstein was held accountable for his crimes. But it is only a beginning. We look forward to the Weinstein prosecution in Los Angeles where he will be brought to answer for other offenses.

“We hail the courage and conviction of the powerful survivors who brought this case to trial and saw it through to the verdict. This verdict sends a thunderous message to other harassers and abusers: You can’t run and you can’t hide any longer. Increasingly, if you harass or abuse, you will be reported, you will get caught and you will be prosecuted.

“Our union unequivocally condemns discrimination, harassment and assault in all its forms and remains committed to finding solutions to ensure a safe work environment for our members wherever they work.”

Dominique Huett, the actress and model who has a civil suit against Weinstein, released a statement through her law firm, Wigdor LLP.

“I hope this criminal conviction will give Weinstein the time to think while he sits in jail on Rikers Island and awaits his sentence,” she said. “I hope he thinks about how his abuse of power sexually harmed countless women with dreams of making it Hollywood. I sincerely hope that Weinstein also will, one day, apologize to the many women whose lives were set off course.

PREVIOUSLY: Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on charges of rape in the third degree and criminal sexual acts in the first degree drew a quick reaction from entertainment industry figures on its meaning for the Me Too movement.

“The beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters,” wrote actress Mira Sorvino, one of dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein was acquitted of more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which carried the potential for life in prison.

But the Silence Breakers, a group that have come forward to allege misconduct on the part of Weinstein, issued a statement in which they said, “While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator.”

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They added, “This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out. Despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team, they courageously shared their stories with the jury, the courtroom and the world. This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers. Their bravery will forever be remembered in history. Our fight is far from over.”

The group includes figures such as Ashley Judd, Lucia Evans and Rosanna Arquette who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Judd, who has been campaigning for Elizabeth Warren, wrote, “For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you.#ConvictWeinstein #Guilty”

Arquette wrote on Twitter, “Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense. We will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited and so that it’s easier for people to report their rapes.”

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“The jury came back. Harvey Weinstein is found guilty. He is. He did this,” wrote actress Mia Kirshner, who accused Weinstein of harassing her in a hotel room.

Ellen Barkin wrote, “Right now Harvey Weinstein is on his way to prison. These are the women who put him away… Mimi Haleyi Jessica Mann Annabella Sciorra Dawn Dunning Lauren Young Tarale Wulff.” She later added, after news that Weinstein was taken into custody after the jury’s verdict, “Right now convicted rapist harvey weinstein is sitting handcuffed in a car on his way to prison.”

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi wrote, “Harvey Weinstein is now a convicted rapist. If there’s a man who doesn’t deserve bail, it’s him.” She added, “Here’s hoping for consecutive sentences.”

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Judd Apatow wrote, “Don’t forget- Harvey Weinstein faces four more charges in Los Angeles. This is just the beginning of holding him accountable.”

Women in Film’s executive director Kirsten Schaffer, issued a statement in which she said, “Today’s verdict is a significant and long-overdue step towards justice for women who have, for years, silently shouldered workplace sexual harassment and assault without recourse.”

She added, “WIF extends its most heartfelt gratitude and support to the Silence Breakers who have heroically endured so much throughout this trial. We trust that this conviction will set a precedent so that perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment—no matter how powerful—will now be unable to escape the criminal consequences of their predatory behavior. For nearly five decades WIF has worked to combat inequity in entertainment and we will continue to innovate new ways to ensure safety, and bring about parity in all areas of the screen industries. We encourage anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or misconduct while working in entertainment, and needs support, to call the WIF Help Line at 855.WIF.LINE.”

Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting for The New Yorker on the Weinstein case, wrote, “Today’s outcome in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial is the result of the decisions of multiple women to come forward to journalists and to prosecutors at great personal cost and risk. Please keep those women in your thoughts today.” Farrow won the Pulitzer along with New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

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