After months of allegations, it's being reported that longtime Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is facing arrest on sexual assault charges, and will turn himself in to authorities in New York on Friday, May 25. Weinstein, 66, has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and other sexually predatory behavior by dozens of women since last October, but has steadfastly denied all allegations of non-consensual sexual activity. Bustle has reached out to his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, to confirm the story.
Initial reports of the many allegations of sexually predatory behavior against Weinstein, which broke late last year, had a seismic impact on the national consciousness. The allegations effectively gave rise to the "Me Too" movement, in which a staggering number of powerful and influential men have been called to account over similar allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
The movement has impacted prominent figures in the world of entertainment, comedy, politics, and journalism, among others. This would be the first time Weinstein has actually been charged with a crime relating to the slew of allegations, however ― according to The New York Daily News, it's expected he'll be charged in relation to singer Lucia Evans, who claims Weinstein forced her into performing oral sex on him during a 2004 audition.
According to The New York Times, New York authorities have also been investigation an allegation that Weinstein raped actress Paz de la Huerta in 2010. Again, Weinstein has denied all accusations of rape and sexual assault, even as he's been accused of varying forms of sexual predation by more than 80 women, many of them famous and highly visible women.
The Times also reports that Weinstein is the subject of ongoing investigations by authorities in Los Angeles and London, and that New York prosecutors are eyeing potential violations of federal stalking laws. This raises the specter of additional charges against Weinstein in other jurisdictions. But in the short term, at least, he'll reportedly be turning himself in to face charges in New York.
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company last October, and subsequently resigned from his position on its board. Since the many accusations exploded into public view, he's essentially become a reviled symbol for countless women across the globe, and the impact of his alleged misdeeds have fueled many high-profile moments of reckoning for other powerful men.
It's yet unclear precisely what the charges will be, and thus what the penalty might be were he convicted. What's clear from the various reports, however, is that these are criminal charges, and as such could carry jail time if Weinstein were convicted.
It's difficult to overstate what a powerful and influential figure Weinstein was in his heyday, as his production company churned out 81 Oscar winning films throughout its history. That's essential background for understanding one of the other frequent allegations regarding Weinstein, which is that he blacklisted actresses who refused his sexual advances, ultimately derailing and destroying many careers in the process.
Prominent examples of this alleged blacklisting include Mira Sorvino, who won an Oscar in 1995, and Ashley Judd. Weinstein has similarly denied blacklisting actresses, although Sorvino made it clear in a tweet last December what she believes the truth to be.
"Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying," Sorvino tweeted, along with a link to an article discussing her alleged blacklisting. "There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure."
It remains to be seen what consequences Weinstein might face for the reported sexual assault charges. But if these recent reports are accurate, the precise nature of the charges ― and their potential penalties ― should become apparent in a relatively short time.