Weinstein Verdict and its Significancy

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Author: Zafira Emily Putri

On February 24, 2020, the final verdict came for Harvey Weinstein that  was charged with a total of 5 charges that are predatory sexual assault, forcibly raping, and performing oral sex, to which he denied all. However, the jury decided yesterday that he has been guilty only for the latter 2 charges, forcibly performing oral sex on former Project Runway assistant Mimi Haleyi back in 2006, and raping Jessica Mann in 2013.[1]

The case of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual allegations was prompted out in late 2017 when New York Times issued an article of detailed allegations from 13 women, most came from his line of actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.[2] Among the allegations include a faster career promotion if she’s willing to sexually appeal him.

This verdict is no small step, it indicates 2 major changes to the decades long statusquo of victims’ silent.

First, it reflects the progress within the justice system. The United States has for so long been neglected to accusations related to powerful cis male, we have seen the loss of Anita Hill against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991[3], or how the case Kobe Bryant dropped in a settlement public doesn’t know about. This shows consistency of the enforcement in ceasing protection for men, both for sentencing him and for his career. Looking back, Clarence Thomas, ended up still being Supreme Court justice and Kobe Bryant still have his career unpausable.[4] Yet for Weinstein, he got kicked out from his company and Oscars expelled him. And he got prison sentencing and paying civil lawsuit.

Second, it sends narrative especially but not limited to women, to speak up. Patriarchal society has created a gendered power imbalance that women are almost always afraid to speak up against powerful men. Back then even women who sue male for this issue would most likely be shamed and blamed. This is also a prove for movement that breeds awareness like MeToo and TimesUp is still important to rally for.

In the end, although the disruption and changes went very slow, but for a cismale, Hollywood movie producer could be sent to jail and have his career broken to pieces, is a significancy in and of itself.


[1] Bekiempis, Victoria. “Harvey Weinstein Is Now a Convicted Rapist. What’s Next?” Vulture. Vulture, February 25, 2020. https://www.vulture.com/2020/02/harvey-weinstein-verdict-whats-next.html.

[2] “Harvey Weinstein Timeline: How the Scandal Unfolded.” BBC News. BBC, February 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41594672.

[3] Garment, Suzanne. “Why Anita Hill Lost.” Commentary, January 1, 1992. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/why-anita-hill-lost/.

[4] Draper, Kevin. “Kobe Bryant and the Sexual Assault Case That Was Dropped but Not Forgotten.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 28, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/sports/basketball/kobe-bryant-rape-case.html.


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