By Prarthana Mitra
Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was arrested in New York on several counts of sexual abuse and rape involving two separate women. He turned himself in to the Manhattan police early on Friday.
This is the first time Weinstein has been slapped with charges since the controversial accusations first surfaced last October. Weinstein had consistently denied all charged levelled against him in the past, even after he was fired from the Weinstein Company and expelled by the Academy last year.
— Variety (@Variety) May 25, 2018
According to reports, Weinstein’s arrest will be followed by a grand jury investigation, alongside other ongoing investigations against him in Los Angeles and London. Other accusers may be brought to court to establish a pattern of predatory behaviour, and if the recent trial against Bill Cosby is any proof, sexual offenders are no longer safe within their elite clique of enablers and apologists.
#MeToo moments of Weinstein’s undoing
The unravelling of Weinstein’s predatory past began with news reports outlining his history of sexual misconduct with women, which prompted social media outrage and protests that have since spread far beyond Hollywood.
After actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan went on record with specific and horrific allegations against the producer, the list of accusers grew alarmingly. This brought to light the extent of abuse of his powerful position within the film fraternity. The #MeToo movement took flight, spawning its corollary #TimesUp.
Dozens of women continued to speak out, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne, Salma Hayek and Lupita N’yongo, who brought attention to the conspiracy of silence surrounding Weinstein. The arrest comes just days after Asia Argento’s powerful speech at the Cannes International Film Festival this year.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 20, 2018
Actress Rose McGowan wrote that some women had given up hope he would be held accountable. She told BBC, “Twenty years ago, I swore that I would right this wrong. Today we are one step closer to justice.”
In the statement released by the New York Police Department, they thank “these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice.”
What does this mean for the future of #MeToo?
Weinstein’s arrest perhaps the highest point of the #MeToo movement so far, was nevertheless eclipsed by reports breaking against Morgan Freeman, for alleged sexual harassment against women.
Another veteran actor Jeffrey Tambor, who had been accused of sexual harassment on the sets of Transparent, found himself in the middle of fresh allegations after Jessica Walters broke down in tears in a recent interview when discussing alleged verbal harassment from her colleague on the sets of Arrested Development.
The new cases which are brought to light every day would not have been possible without the seeds sown by #MeToo, however, they are also suggestive of the continued and widespread prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment against women in all walks of life. It further proves that Weinstein’s arrest cannot be the final culmination of the movement which has garnered stupendous momentum and solidarity in the last few months. The fight must go on until every industry is free from megalomania and misogyny perpetuated by those men who seemed to be getting too comfortable in their positions of power.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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