On Friday morning, Harvey Weinstein left the First Police Precinct in Manhattan in handcuffs. Several sets of handcuffs, actually, “to accommodate his girth,” police told the New York Times.
By the time Weinstein turned himself into the authorities, the New York City Police Department and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office had spent seven months investigating sexual assault and rape claims against him, and he had been the subject of two Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations that toppled the once-untouchable Hollywood producer — a man whose ring one was all but required to kiss en route to the Oscar stage.
Weinstein has been charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, and sexual misconduct. (He consistently denies all allegations against him.) Friday afternoon, the Associated Press reports, “He agreed to post $1 million cash bail, wear an electronic monitor, and not travel beyond New York and Connecticut. Weinstein didn’t enter a plea. That’s common at this stage in a criminal case in New York.”
Statement Regarding Arrest of Harvey Weinstein pic.twitter.com/WKO4rX9eaH
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 25, 2018
Multitudes of women, including some of the most famous, celebrated actresses in the entertainment industry — Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o, Salma Hayek — have come forward in recent months, describing their degrading, violent, chilling experiences with Weinstein. But of the dozens who spoke out about their alleged encounters with Weinstein, the NYPD has based its charges on the allegations of only two.
One of the two women whose allegations led to Weinstein’s arrest has not been identified publicly. The other is Lucia Evans, a marketing consultant and former aspiring actress, who first told her story to Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker last October. She alleges Weinstein sexually assaulted her in his Tribeca office in 2004. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this. Stop. Don’t,'” she told Farrow about the assault. “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”
Evans filed a formal criminal complaint the day after the New Yorker piece was published. As Farrow wrote Friday, a police source called Evans “a highly credible witness with corroborating evidence.” Evans told Farrow she weighed the potential personal costs as she made her decision to pursue charges, but ultimately felt she needed to see it through. Police told her “that if I do nothing, Harvey could walk,” she said. “I think the significance hit all at once.”
She knew justice would come slowly, if at all, and the process would likely be brutal. Still, “At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind.” Her experience with Weinstein, she told Farrow, has already bruised her:
“I know how this has changed my life for the worse. How he took away my self-esteem and personal power. And knowing I can take it back, and stop him from doing that to another woman, I couldn’t let that go.”
There are criminal investigations into Weinstein underway in London and Los Angeles as well. The Metropolitan Police has said Weinstein is accused of assaulting three women in separate incidents in London in the late 1980s, 1992, 2010, 2011, and 2015. In the United Kingdom, there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a rape allegation against Weinstein from 2013, based on an accusation from an Italian model. In September 2016, the state of California eliminated statutes of limitations for rape cases. Though this change to the statute only applies to victims who were assaulted after January 1, 2017, the 2013 allegation falls within the previous ten-year limit.
Weinstein has also been named in a class-action lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, filed by a Jane Doe on behalf of all women who met with Weinstein for professional purposes only to discover these “meetings” were, in fact, a ploy to get them alone where they could be harassed or assaulted by Weinstein.
As ThinkProgress reported last November, the lawsuit claims the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” ran a harassment and misdirection campaign in the media to prevent victims from coming forward “and to destroy evidence of the sexual misconduct.” Weinstein and his company face charges of racketeering, civil battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
As the allegations against Weinstein tumbled out in one damning report after the next, investigative reporters and sexual violence victims fought to name and out alleged abusers not just in Hollywood but across all industries.
Every field, it turned out, had at least one Weinstein. If a man had worn a suit and tie in public, the odds that he had done something gross to his female colleagues were astonishingly high. It was like someone turned the lights on in the dive bar everyone had been partying in since the ‘70s, and there was no escaping how disgusting it was, how urgently it needed to be scrubbed clean of decades of accumulated filth.
Amid this collective clearing-out of abusive men, survivors started tell their stories, with thousands posting their experiences—often without naming their assailants or harassers—on social media. A rallying cry Tarana Burke first coined in 1997 was revived as a hashtag, then a movement: #MeToo. On New Year’s Day, a coalition of like-minded women in the entertainment industry announced the creation of Time’s Up, which is dedicated to ending sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to the New York Times, the Manhattan D.A.’s office’s inquiry into Weinstein is not over:
An investigative grand jury, still convened, will look into other sexual assault allegations against Mr. Weinstein as well as possible financial crimes relating to how he paid women to stay silent, people familiar with the proceedings said. Among other things, the grand jury is delving into whether Mr. Weinstein used employees of his former production company to identify women for him to assault, to set up meetings with the women or to discredit them if they complained.