Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison. This is a sentence I never thought I would write and it brings me to tears – happy ones – doing so. The news, which was handed down to the disgraced film producer yesterday at a Manhattan courtroom, is a historic moment for the Me Too movement and women everywhere who have not only fallen victim to Weinstein, but who have been sexually harassed or assaulted by any man, anywhere.
Victims of Weinstein quickly took to social media to share their feelings with actress Rose McGowan, who was allegedly raped by Weinstein at Sundance Film Festival in 1997, writing simply, “Let us be free” and Mira actress, who was one of the first to go on record accusing Weinstein of sexually harassing her, tweeting, “23 years. Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for his crimes of rape and sexual assault. I literally cried tears of amazement, gratitude that the justice system has worked on behalf of all of his victims today.”
Actress Kate Beckinsale, who first added her voice to the allegations against the 67-year-old on Instagram in 2017, added another of her stories to public record, writing that after attending the movie premiere of Weinstein’s film Serendipity in 2001, Weinstein asked her to come to his house before verbally abusing her, leaving her shaking and in tears.
Beckinsale wrote that the cast of the film had initially declined attending the New York premiere as it was scheduled mere weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but “Weinstein insisted.”
She alleged, ‘The next morning Harvey called me and asked if I would like to bring my less than two year old daughter to his house for a playdate with his similar aged daughter I said ok. I turned up and he immediately called for his nanny to take the babies to another room to play. I went to go with them and he said “No, you wait here .” The minute the door closed he started screaming “you stupid f*cking C***, you C*** you ruined my premiere.’
‘I had no idea what he was talking about and started to shake. He said, ”If I am throwing a red carpet you get in a tight dress, you shake your ass you shake your tits you do not go down it looking like a fucking lesbian you stupid f*cking c*** .” The shock made me burst into tears,’ she continued.
Beckinsale wrote that after she tried telling Weinstein that it was insensitive to hold the premiere in the city at that time, he replied, “It’s my f*cking premiere and if I want pussy on the red carpet that’s what I get”. She said that though the producer was ‘screaming’ and ‘livid,’ she managed to get herself and her daughter out of the house.
‘Hearing that he has gone to prison for 23 years is a huge relief to me on behalf of all the women he sexually assaulted or raped, and I hope will be a deterrent to that sort of behavior in this and any other industry,’ she finished.
In 2017, Beckinsale first opened up about her experiences with Weinstein, writing that refusing his sexual advances from aged 17 “undoubtedly harmed my career.”
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I was called to meet Harvey Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel when I was 17. I assumed it would be in a conference room which was very common.When I arrived ,reception told me to go to his room . He opened the door in his bathrobe . I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older ,unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him .After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left ,uneasy but unscathed.A few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting .I realized he couldn't remember if he had assaulted me or not .I had what I thought were boundaries – I said no to him professionally many times over the years-some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a cunt and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people oh "Kate lives to say no to me ." It speaks to the status quo in this business that I was aware that standing up for myself and saying no to things,while it did allow me to feel uncompromised in myself,undoubtedly harmed my career and was never something I felt supported by anyone other than my family.I would like to applaud the women who have come forward , and to pledge that we can from this create a new paradigm where producers,managers,executives and assistants and everyone who has in the past shrugged and said " well, that's just Harvey /Mr X/insert name here " will realize that we in numbers can affect real change.For every moment like this there have been thousands where a vulnerable person has confided outrageous unprofessional behavior and found they have no recourse, due to an atmosphere of fear that it seems almost everyone has been living in .I had a male friend who, based on my experience,warned a young actress who said she was going to dinner with Harvey to be careful. He received a phone call the next day saying he would never work in another Miramax film ;the girl was already sleeping with Harvey and had told him that my friend had warned her off.Let's stop allowing our young women to be sexual cannon fodder,and let's remember that Harvey is an emblem of a system that is sick,and that we have work to do.