by Graham Pierrepoint
Harvey Weinstein – the former movie mogul who found his career and reputation in tatters after several women in the film industry went public about alleged sexual harassment and even assault they experienced at his hands late last year – has been front and center of the ongoing #MeToo storm, which has seen more and more people from the creative industries come forward to advise of inappropriate moments they have experienced while attempting to grow their careers. The likes of Bill Cosby – a US TV behemoth - have already been taken to task, with Cosby’s allegations of sexual advances having presented a ‘Guilty’ verdict and an upcoming jail sentence that could see the star die behind bars. Weinstein, meanwhile, has this week confirmed that he will be pleading ‘Not Guilty’ to the first criminal charges he has been presented with.
Weinstein appeared before court in New York to plead Not Guilty to one count of a first-degree criminal sexual act and both first-degree and third-degree rape of one woman this week – days after his legal representation confirmed that they would be seeking to fight the charges laid out against the fallen mogul. Weinstein had previously been bailed for a total of $1 million, with a grand jury having already chosen to indict him. Some allegations he is faced with date back to 2004 – with two women in particular having raised the current criminal complaints. It’s not yet clear if any further criminal charges will arise – though Weinstein has already been met with civil cases.
▶ Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To Rape Charges
The mogul had effectively ducked out of the public eye in recent months following widespread outcry towards the end of 2017. Weinstein’s approach to and from court was extensively covered and captured by the media, with many commenting on his ‘pale’ appearance – with his Not Guilty plea effectively setting the tone early on for what will be a momentous turning point in the #MeToo campaign – and across Hollywood industry history full stop – as the fallen movie boss faces up to criminal charges which his attorney Benjamin Brafman has asserted will be fought in court as opposed to via the press. “He has denied these charges and intends to fight them,” Brafman advised. “These cases have created a firestorm of publicity – my job is to defend specific allegations of sexual misconduct, not the issue of the Hollywood casting couch over the last 30 or 100 years.”