The once-powerful Hollywood producer whose behavior helped ignite the #MeToo movement recently made his first court appearance on criminal charges for alleged sexual misconduct involving two women. Harvey Weinstein was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of rape and committing a criminal sexual act. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Led into court in handcuffs, Weinstein was released on $1 million bail, ordered to wear a monitoring device and surrender his passport. His next court appearance is slated for July 30. Weinstein’s attorney stated that the disgraced producer whose companies were behind movies such as “My Left Foot,” “Shakespeare In Love” and “Pulp Fiction” plans to plead not guilty.
Accusations took place over decades
More than 70 women – including prominent actresses Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman – have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stemming from incidents over decades. The #MeToo movement gained momentum in October after accusations by Judd and others. Judd even filed a lawsuit in April against Weinstein, claiming that he had harmed her career after she had rejected his sexual advances.
Sexual harassment has no place in the working world, or anywhere else for that matter. Throughout the country in the entertainment and restaurant industries and corporate world, we have seen a sea change in attitudes related to sexual harassment – something that decades ago was ignored with a wink. Such behavior should not have been accepted then, and should never be accepted today.
Stand up for yourself if you are a victim
We have seen local, city, state and federal governments introduce laws aimed at addressing workplace sexual harassment. Right here in our state, New York City leaders recently passed rules that would require employers to provide workers with training aimed at preventing sexual harassment.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, remember that you have a whole movement on your side. Although you may fear coming forward, it’s important to do so in order to maintain personal dignity and to prevent your harasser from victimizing others. You’re the one who has the power.