Ever since the allegations against Harry Weinstein came up following the “Me too” campaign on social media, the famous movie producer has not been able to leave the limelight. After months of allegations, he faced arrest on secual assault charges and turned himself in on Friday, 25th May in New York. He has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and other sexually predatory behavior by dozens of women since last October, but has steadfastly denied all allegations of non-consensual sexual activity. Following the allegations of Weinstein’s sexually predatory behavior, many women have called out powerful and popular men across the world and charged them with sexual harassment. Weinstein has denied committing any act of non-consensual nature.
The events of 25th May:
The 66 year old celebrity entered the station in lower Manhattan carrying three books and was taken to court after getting his mugshots and fingerprints taken. The court proceedings were brief and Harvey did not utter a word throughout. The prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said that the former mogul used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually whereas Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman told reporters outside the court that his client will enter a not guilty plea. He also added that the charges were constitutionally invalid and were not supported by evidence. To the uproar of many, he was released on bail for $1m bail and was ordered to wear an electronic tag.
Accusations against Weinstein:
This is the first time Weinstein has actually been charged with a crime related to his allegations. According to The New York Daily News, he will face charges in relation to singer Lucia Evans, who has alleged that Weinstein forced her into performing oral sex on him during a 2004 audition. As per The New York Times, authorities have also been investigating an allegation that Weinstein raped actress Paz de la Huerta in 2010. Again, Weinstein has denied all accusations of rape and sexual assault, even as he's been accused of varying forms of sexual predation by more than 80 women, many of them famous and highly visible women.
The Times also reports that Weinstein is the subject of ongoing investigations by authorities in Los Angeles and London, and that New York prosecutors are eyeing potential violations of federal stalking laws. This raises the specter of additional charges against Weinstein in other jurisdictions. But in the short term, at least, he'll reportedly be turning himself in to face charges in New York.
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company last October, and subsequently resigned from his position on its board. Since the many accusations exploded into public view, he's essentially become a reviled symbol for countless women across the globe, and the impact of his alleged misdeeds have fueled many high-profile moments of reckoning for other powerful men.
It's yet unclear precisely what the charges will be, and thus what the penalty might be where he convicted. What's clear from the various reports, however, is that these are criminal charges, and as such could carry jail time if Weinstein were convicted.
Who are the others who have accused him?
The Hollywood star has been alleged for sexual harassment and assault from 80 women. Some have alleged rape. Actresses such as Kate Beckinsale, Lysette Anthony and Gwyneth Paltrow are amongst some of the most popular names who have spoken out. Actress Ashley Judd is suing the Hollywood producer for damaging her career prospects after she rejected his sexual advances.
Another case is one where Italian model Ambra Battilana has accused him of groping her in 2015. There is an audiotape of Mr Weinstein accepting that he touched Ms Battilana's breasts and has pledged that he will not repeat it.
How have things changed with the #MeToo campaign?
"Me Too" began as an idea back in 2006, with rights activist Tarana Burke, who used it as the name for a group to help those who had been sexually harassed and assaulted. In January, more than 300 actresses, writers and directors launched the Time's Up project, raising $21m in just a month to fund legal assistance for people who suffer harassment, abuse or assault at work.A number of high-profile figures in entertainment have been accused since the Weinstein story. On Thursday, US film star Morgan Freeman apologised following allegations of sexual misconduct.