The #MeToo Movement Looms Larger Than the Film Giant

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New Analysis by Veronica Hatch ’25

In a 4-3 decision on Thursday, Apr. 25, 2024, the New York Court of Appeals overturned the rape conviction of former film industry giant Harvey Weinstein on the grounds of a technical error. The prosecutors presented witnesses that were not directly related to the charges, showing prejudice on the part of the judge. Out of the seven deciding judges, the three dissenters have expressed their belief that the overturning of Weinstein’s New York conviction and re-evaluating his trial in Los Angeles is “endangering decades of progress” (CBS). 

Exonerated or not for sexual violence, justice can never be served to rectify the violence he wreaked on dozens, possibly hundreds, of people’s careers.

A 2015 analysis of 1,396 Oscar acceptance speeches archived on the website found that Weinstein was thanked more often than God. His power could make or break the careers of anyone in the film industry, even those who were simply near it. 

The multitude of accusations, nearly 100 of them,  against Mr. Weinstein, span from harassment to rape. The narratives of these incidents share a common thread: the majority of the women involved were young, ranging from actresses to assistants. Many of them were just starting out in their careers, with some even being in their first days or weeks on the job.

Despite their diverse backgrounds, they, along with numerous others, shared a common aspiration to work, contribute, and carve out a place for themselves in an industry largely dominated by men. Weinstein would coax these up-and-coming women into traps by telling them that the only way big names like Gwyneth Paltrow became successful was by sleeping with him.

Speaking up to this man with God-like power over popular culture was not just dangerous, it was career suicide.

A person can be imprisoned for sexual harassment or assault, for those actions have a name in the law: criminal offense. But the justice system cannot rebuild a decimated career that could have been sculpted by the hands whose wrists now lie in cuffs.

Since 2017, when investigative journalists like Jodi Kantor, Ronan Farrow, and Megan Twohey worked to expose the Weinstein allegations, workplaces around the world have undergone a massive cultural reset. Harassment that used to be tolerated, excused, or rationalized has been met with a stronger response from women emboldened by their knowledge of the others who have spoken up before them. This newfound power and baseline norm will not simply disappear, and it can never move backward thanks to the courageous women in the Weinstein trial.

It is not the little comments that we see less of these days since it has become less acceptable. The underlying problem is the power held by men in these God-like positions. It is the fact that pressure can buckle anyone’s knees, can fold the strongest person into the envelope of coercion. Now, we must focus on the other anonymous puppeteers, the predators with power unbeknownst to the public as of yet. That is where the true monstrosities are found.

Veronica Hatch ‘25, the author, is a staff writer for The Grace Gazette.