Accusers lobbied for his arrest and hailed it
Crisis management expert says he's not redeemable
Harvey Weinstein turning himself in to police on Friday was both an ending and a beginning.
Weinstein was arrested and processed Friday on charges of rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, according to the New York Police Department.
The district attorney said in a statement that the charges stem from incidents with two separate women in 2013 and 2004 and were the result of a joint investigation between police and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
A source familiar with the investigation told CNN the criminal sex act charge stemmed from a case involving aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who alleges Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Tribeca office in 2004. Evans has not responded to any of CNN’s requests for comment since first speaking out about Weinstein in the New Yorker last fall.
The alleged victim in the rape case has not been publicly identified, the source said.
More charges against Weinstein are expected as a grand jury continues to hear testimony in the state’s case with at least four women expected to testify, the source added.
The arrest ended some of the frustration for his alleged victims who had long called for him to be charged.
Now the man who has lost his company, his family and his stature in an industry he helped define is facing accountability in a court of law.
Many believe that regardless of the legal outcome, Weinstein’s fate in the industry has been sealed.
“Even if [Manhattan District Attorney] Cyrus Vance is not able to win in court, he still faces all of the civil allegations,” attorney and crisis management expert Richard Levick told CNN. “He is no more redeemable than Bill Cosby.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women against Weinstein stretched over decades.
His alleged abuse energized the #MeToo movement and sparked the Time’s Up campaign against workplace misconduct, making Weinstein’s name the one most raised in conversations about abuse of power and the treatment of women in industries far beyond Hollywood.
Through a spokesperson, Weinstein has repeatedly denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”
On Friday, his attorney Benjamin Brafman reiterated that.
“Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior with anyone,” Brafman said in a statement. “Nothing about today’s proceedings changes Mr. Weinstein’s position. He has entered a plea of Not Guilty and fully expects to be exonerated.”
And while stories of Weinstein’s alleged behavior had been privately buzzed about for years (to the point it was even a public punchline), it wasn’t until the New York Times and The New Yorker published accusations from several women, including actress Ashley Judd last October, that the enormity of the scandal was revealed.
For many of Weinstein’s alleged victims, Friday was both a long time coming and the fulfillment of what they have been campaigning for since the news broke.
Actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s staunchest accusers, posted on Instagram: “I, and so many of Harvey Weinstein’s survivors, had given up hope that our rapist would be held accountable by law.”
“Twenty years ago, I swore that I would right this wrong,” McGowan wrote. “Today we are one step closer to justice. We were young women who were assaulted by Weinstein and later terrorized by his vast network of complicity. I stand with my fellow survivors. May his arrest give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.”
Time’s Up also tweeted about the arrest.
“Today a man whose actions were so egregious that they spawned a global reckoning has been taken into custody,” the group’s tweet read. “Harvey Weinstein shattered the lives of an untold number of women. We stand with them, and remain in solidarity with women everywhere who have faced unsafe and abusive workplaces. We look forward to seeing justice prevail.”
The day of reckoning was one journalist Kim Masters didn’t think she would ever see.
Masters, who writes for The Hollywood Reporter, told CNN she first met Weinstein more than 15 years ago at an off-the-record lunch.
The then mogul asked her what she had heard about him, and Masters said she told him she had heard he raped women.
“It was a story that eluded myself and other reporters for many years,” she said. “His argument that he never had non-consensual sex is consistent with what he told me all those years ago. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.”
Masters, who has covered multiple stories of allegations against other men in Hollywood, wondered if Weinstein’s case will lead to a shift in the power dynamic in the entertainment industry.
“We have a continuum of misconduct allegations in Hollywood and the revelation for me is how entrenched this kind of behavior has been,” she said. “The question is are we going to see meaningful change in this industry or is this just a moment?”
Weinstein’s past influence in Hollywood can’t be understated.
Along with his brother Bob, Weinstein co-founded Miramax studio in 1979, and quickly gained a reputation for producing films that both garnered critical acclaim and made money at the box office.
While the brothers sold their company to Disney in 1993, they continued to run it and under their guidance it earned 58 Oscars and made billions of dollars.
Now the man known for being one of the most successful campaigners for Academy Awards has been booted from The Weinstein Company – an independent studio he helped form which now languishes in bankruptcy. Weinstein is also the subject of investigations for alleged sex crimes in Los Angeles and London.
Weinstein’s wife, co-founder of high-end fashion house, Marchesa, announced in October that she was leaving him. The couple have two children together and she has maintained she had no knowledge of her husband’s alleged misconduct.
Levick, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of the LEVICK firm, said the graphic, damning nature of the charges and allegations against Weinstein makes him an “untouchable.”
“He’s not just a defendant in a criminal prosecution, but he’s also the symbol of the Me Too movement,” Levick said. “He became the symbol for why it was so critical, historical and important.”