Harvey Weinstein on trial: A timeline | Film | DW | 06.01.2020
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Harvey Weinstein on trial: A timeline

Producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by dozens of actors and former employees. Having sparked the #MeToo movement, accusers will finally have their day in court on January 6, 2020.

It all began with a tweet.

Using the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport, actor Rose McGowan accused an unnamed Hollywood producer of raping her.

"Because it's been an open secret in Hollywood/Media & they shamed me while adulating my rapist," she wrote in October 2016. But she was finally breaking her silence.

Confirming rumors

The tweet came on the heels of several public trials of prominent media personalities for sexual assault and harassment, including actor Bill Cosby and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

While rumors about Harvey Weinstein's behavior towards women had long been circulating within the film industry, no one had gone on record. A groping case against the producer was looked into by the New York Police Department in 2015 but no charges had been filed.

Jodi Kantor, a New York Times reporter who had been covering workplace sexual harassment, saw McGowan's tweet and eventually reached out to the actor for more information. That conversation got the ball rolling on what would be a groundbreaking investigation into wrongdoing by the movie mogul.

'She feared that Weinstein would crush her'

Kantor's expose, which was first published in the New York Times on October 5, 2017, revealed accusations of sexual assault, rape, harassment and intimidation across decades by women who had worked with Weinstein. Prominent actors including McGowan and Ashley Judd went on record with details of their experiences with the producer. Once these women came forward, others followed.

Just a few days later, on October 10, 2017, journalist Ronan Farrow published the results of a similar investigation he'd undertaken in the New Yorker. He quoted 13 women, including actor Mira Sorvino, who described being assaulted by Weinstein.

Read more'She Said': #MeToo and the makings of a movement

Noting that some of the accusations dated back years, and that other investigations had fallen short in terms of evidence, Farrow explained there was a plausible reason for the delay in reporting on Weinstein.

He quoted Weinstein accuser, film director Asia Argento, who said that "(s)he feared that Weinstein would ‘crush' her. 'I know he has crushed a lot of people before,' Argento said. 'That's why this story — in my case, it's twenty years old, some of them are older — has never come out.'"

Since those initial revelations, which sparked a worldwide revitalization of the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, more than 80 women have accused one of Hollywood's most prominent producers of sexual misconduct.

Timeline of a downfall

The back-to-back reports by Kantor and Farrow not only led to a public outcry but had a series of consequences for Harvey Weinstein and Miramax Films, the company he co-founded with his brother Bob in 1979. Now, on January 6, 2020, Weinstein goes to trial in Manhattan to face charges of rape.

So what exactly has happened in the period between the first Weinstein revelations and his upcoming rape trial? The following timeline breaks down important events in the sexual assault cases against the Hollywood mogul:

●         October 5, 2017: Immediately following the publication of Kantor's investigation in the New York Times, Weinstein issued a statement to the paper saying, "I so respect all women and regret what happened." He also threatened to sue the newspaper;

●         October 8, 2017: Weinstein takes a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company, which was launched by Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 2005 after they left Miramax;

●         October 9, 2017: Prominent celebrities including George Clooney and Meryl Streep decried the producer's actions, calling them "indefensible";

●         October 14, 2017: After further accusations were made, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the organization behind the Oscars, votes to expel Weinstein, whose name had been one of the most frequently invoked in thank you speeches;

●         October 17, 2017: Weinstein resigns from the board of his eponymous company;

●         February 11, 2018: New York state prosecutors file lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, alleging that the studio failed to protect female employees from alleged sexual harassment and abuse;

●         March 20, 2018: The Weinstein Company files for bankruptcy;

●         May 1, 2018: Actor Ashley Judd sues Harvey Weinstein;

●         May 25, 2018: Charged with rape and several other counts of sexual assault against two women, Weinstein turns himself into the New York Police Department and is released on $1 million (€900,000) bail the following day;

●         June 5, 2018: Weinstein pleads not guilty to the first case. Within a month he is charged with a third count, to which he also pleads not guilty;

●         May 23, 2019: It is reported that a "tentative deal" to settle sexual misconduct civil cases, believed to be about $44 million, is reached with accusers;

●         September 25, 2019: New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey release the book, She Said, detailing their reporting on the Weinstein accusations and his use of intimidation tactics to prevent the release of the investigation;

●         October 5, 2019: Rowena Chen, a former assistant of Weinstein's, reveals in an op-ed in the New York Times that she was assaulted while working for him;

●         December 11, 2019: Weinstein is fined by the state of New York for tampering with the electronic ankle bracelet he was required to wear while out on bail;

●         December 11, 2019: Another tentative agreement to settle civil suits between The Weinstein Company and nearly 30 actors and former employees is reached for $25 million; not all women agree to the suit's terms and intend to challenge it.

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