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7 questions that explain the Harvey Weinstein case, a scandal that made the …

by Ace Damon
7 questions that explain the Harvey Weinstein case, a scandal that made the ...

This is one of the most talked about lawsuits in the US in recent years. Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood's most powerful men, faces five charges including rape and other sexual crimes in New York.

A jury of seven men and five women must unanimously decide whether Weinstein is guilty of the charges made by two women.

The case is being considered by media and law experts as a pivotal moment in the #MeToo movement – the global rebuke of harassment against women that went viral thanks to the first charges against Weinstein in 2017.

More than 80 women spoke publicly against him, including celebrities.

Here are some questions to understand a little more about the case.

Who is Harvey Weinstein?

The 67-year-old film producer is a co-founder of the entertainment company Miramax, which challenged the dominance of major Hollywood studios and gained its own space.

Weinstein and Brother Bob are behind a series of successful films in the 90s, including Sex, Lies and Videotape, Betrayed by Desire, Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love – the latter won seven Oscar statuettes in 1999, including the best movie.

His influence in the film industry can be exemplified by a study that analyzed Oscar's acceptance speeches.

In 2015, the study found that Weinstein had already been cited or praised in 25 speeches – as many times as God – second only to renowned director and producer Steven Spielberg.

What are the charges against him?

The first statements against Weinstein came in October 2017.

The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine published reports in which dozens of women accused the tycoon of having committed sexual crimes.

Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd are among the women who have publicly performed to report Weinstein's harassment.

Among the charges, the women alleged that Weinstein forced women to massage him and see him naked. He also promised to help them jumpstart their careers in exchange for "sexual favors".

This sparked a number of other charges, including some from very famous Hollywood people, like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The charges also involved employees like Weinstein's former office assistant, Lisa Rose.

What is the New York trial about?

In the current trial, Weinstein is accused by two women, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haleyi.

Mann, a former actress, said the producer raped her in a hotel room in Manhattan in 2013.

Haleyi, who worked as a production assistant, said Weinstein forced her to do oral sex on him in her Manhattan apartment in 2006.

Weinstein's defense points out that the two women remained friends with him after the alleged harassments.

The lawyers called several witnesses to try to demonstrate that the relationships were consensual.

Prosecutors, however, portrayed the Hollywood mogul as someone who attacked women with financial difficulties or who were looking for job opportunities in the film industry.

"The power he exploited was not just physical. It was also professional and deeply psychological," said Meghan Hast, one of the prosecutors, in a statement read at the opening at the trial.

Weinstein denies that there was "non-consensual sex".

He made an apology on October 5, 2017, in which he acknowledged "it caused a lot of pain" – but still disputed the charges.

At the New York trial, the defense team said the prosecution "failed to argue without a doubt."

Weinstein appeared at the trial looking frail and using a walker to walk because of back surgery.

Has his reputation been affected?

The producer's wife, Georgina Chapman, announced in October 2017 that she would leave.

That same month, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscar, voted to expel Weinstein.

He was also fired from the Weinstein Company, a company he and his brother founded in 2005 after leaving Miramax.

However, the scandal still hit the company heavily, which filed for bankruptcy in March 2018.

Is this the only time that Weinstein will go to trial?

It is unlikely. Los Angeles prosecutors announced criminal charges against the Hollywood mogul on January 6.

The charges range from rape to harassment.

One of the accusers in the Los Angeles case, model and actress Lauren Marie Young, testified at the New York trial.

She claimed that Weinstein took off her clothes, took off her dress and grabbed her chest in a California hotel bathroom in 2013 – while saying it was "how things work in Hollywood".

The case must be taken forward when the New York trial ends.

The producer also faces several civil suits from dozens of accusers.

In December last year, it was announced that Weinstein had reached a $ 25 million interim agreement with 30 women who accused him of sexual misconduct – since then, however, at least four of them have given up on the agreement, and it is unclear what will happen to it.

Why do these accusations have to do with the #MeToo movement?

The term came up online in early 2006, when it was used on social media by American survivor and activist Tarana Burke.

But it went viral – and global – after the Weinstein scandal.

Activists and law experts also see the producer's judgment as a test for the movement, and not just for celebrity cases.

There is a special interest in seeing how the jury would act in the absence of physical forensic evidence and also whether women's testimony could be sufficient to make someone found guilty of sexual crimes.

(tagsToTranslate) harvey weinstein (t) me too (t) harassment

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