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Harvey Weinstein accusers show solidarity as trial begins
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Harvey Weinstein accusers gather in solidarity as his trial begins

Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette were among those outside the New York courthouse where the producer faces sexual misconduct charges

As swathes of press and protesters lined the steps of the New York courthouse for disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long-awaited trial, several of Weinstein’s accusers also gathered to show solidarity and support with each other yesterday (January 6).

Holding signs that read, ‘justice for survivors’ and ‘listen to survivors’, accusers and their supporters gathered to show solidarity with all the women who came forward against the producer. Among them were actors Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette, who spoke to reporters outside the courthouse.

“That we’ve come to this moment of justice is staggering,” McGowan said. “The trial means so much to so many, but it will mean the most to the brave women testifying and to all of us silence-breakers. I thank those testifying for standing not just for themselves but for all of us who will never have even one day in court.”

“Today is a day for us to honour how far we’ve come and how much we’ve endured to get here,” she continued. “But it is not the end. We are free, we are beautiful, we are strong, and you will never take that from us. Survivors will never give up.” 

Arquette added: “As we stand here at the beginning of a new year and a new decade, time’s up. Time’s up on sexual harassment in all workplaces. Time’s up on blaming survivors. Time’s up on empty apologies without consequences, and time’s up on the pervasive culture of silence.”

The disgraced mogul faces five charges including rape and predatory sexual assault, though over 80 women came forward with accusations after The New York Times exposed Weinstein’s decade-long crimes in October 2017. Two of the allegations on trial relate to a 2013 incident in which Weinstein is accused of raping a woman in a New York hotel room, and an event in 2006 where the producer is said to have performed a forcible sex act on a woman. Weinstein denies all of the charges.

Just yesterday, he was faced with two new charges in Los Angeles, relating to the sexual assault of two women over two days in 2013. If convicted of this separate case, he could face 28 years in prison, on top of the possible life sentence from the New York trial.

The 67-year-old has shown little remorse or responsibility for his actions, recently claiming to be a champion of womentelling the New York Post: “I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” Addressing these comments outside court, McGowan asserted: “For every woman he put on screen, he took out about a hundred behind the scene.”

Just last weekend, in a newly-published email exchange with CNN, Weinstein expressed the belief that he will be able to rebuild a career in the film industry. “It will take a bit of work to build back to it,” he wrote. “If I can get back to doing something good and building places that help heal and comfort others, I intend to do so.”

“Does anyone really want to see that?” Weinstein accuser and journalist Lauren Sivan said when questioned about this statement at the courthouse. “It’s like a pedophile saying, ‘I can’t wait to go back to coaching Little League as soon as this is all over’. This is a dangerous predator. Even if he is acquitted on this trial, let’s hope he will never be able to go back to doing what he was doing.”

As well as the criminal charges currently on trial, Weinstein was hit with a group civil case filed by dozens of his accusers. In December, it was reported that the producer had reached a ‘tentative’ $25 million (£19 million) settlement with 30 actors and ex-employees, though it still needs to be signed off.

Weinstein’s abuse was uncovered by journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in an extensive New York Times article that subsequently sparked the monumental #MeToo movement. Speaking to Dazed in November after the publication of their book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, the pair discussed their shock at the reaction to the revelations, and how Weinstein’s intimidation tactics fueled their determination. “The more Weinstein came at us with his attempts of bullying, the more motivated we were to get to the finish line,” Twohey said. “If he thought that was going to intimidate us or stop us in any way, he was sorely wrong.”