Writer: Leela H.
Visual: Somya D.
Editor: Norbu D.
Last week the state of New York sentenced Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison for sex crimes: one account of criminal sexual acts in the first degree (20 years) and one account of rape in the third degree (3 years). The former Hollywood producer’s trial has been one of the first high profile cases brought to light because of the #MeToo movement, and while many support Judge Burke’s ruling there are also those who argue that #MeToo has gone too far, and that Weinstein’s sentence is greater than it should be. Especially, since Weinstein will face further charges in California. However, it is clear to me that as one of the first big hollywood cases of the #MeToo movement Harvey Weinstein’s sentence is more than justified.
Since the news broke of Weinstein’s alleged sex crimes, more than 90 women have spoken out against him, accusing him of the aforementioned felonies. Helping prove to the court and state of New York that not only was Weinstein a predator, but a repeat offender. Despite the fact that he hadn’t been through the due legal process in all of those instances Judge Burke ruled that they showed a clear history of sexual abuse and misconduct. Due to this, it is highly likely that he would have continued this misconduct in the future–had it not been brought to light. The legal system forcing him to register as a sex offender and remain in jail for a considerable amount of time is justified, because otherwise he may not learn his lesson.
Furthermore, Weinstein’s conviction is one of the first legal courses of action fuelled by #MeToo. While there are many who have been accused of or “cancelled” for their alleged crimes, only a handful have faced legal repercussions. The fact is, Harvey Weinstein’s case has been one of the first highly publicized cases of the movement since 2017. There are still many abusers who need to be brought to justice: Woody Allen, Bryan Singer, and Kevin Spacey to name a few. Ultimately, the significance of this legal case is that by convicting Weinsten, to more than a minimal number of years, the court sends a clear message of what can and will happen to sexual predators within the American judicial system.
That being said many consider the ruling unfair. Weinstein is a 67 year old with heart problems, and the sentence he received may very well be a life sentence. Especially, when coupled with the years he will presumably recieve in LA where he is facing felony charges for rape. However, it is undeniable that his actions cannot be tolerated by the judicial system and that justice must be delivered.
It is nonsensical to suggest that a man charged with sexual assault in varying degrees with nearly 100 women should be allowed free on the streets within 5 years after ruining the lives and careers of many persons. Especially, when the court has found undeniable evidence that there existed a clear pattern of abuse, at a time when the legal system is attempting to make it evident to other abusers that there are severe consequences. On February 24 2020, we won as women. We won as humans.
- Desta, Yohana. “Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison.” Vanity Fair, Vanity Fair, 11 Mar. 2020, www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/03/harvey-weinstein-sentencing-prison.
- Grady, Constance. “Some Say the Me Too Movement Has Gone Too Far. The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Proves That’s False.” Vox, Vox, 24 Feb. 2020, http://www.vox.com/culture/2020/2/24/21150966/harvey-weinstein-rape-conviction-sexual-predatory-assault-me-too-too-far.
- Ransom, Jan. “Harvey Weinstein Is Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Mar. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-sentencing.html.