Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced on wednesday, to 23 years in prison after he pleaded for mercy in the landmark #MeToo rape case.
He was sentenced after breaking his courtroom silence with a rambling plea for mercy in which he professed to be “totally confused” by the #MeToo movement that spelled the Hollywood producer's downfall.
His accusers those who testified against him and many others who have spoken out elsewhere against the former Hollywood mogul hailed the near-maximum punishment for his rape and criminal sex act convictions as long overdue.
The 67-year-old Weinstein, who arrived at the courthouse on wednesday in a wheelchair and was taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains hours after the court hearing, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
He was convicted last month of raping a once-aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on former TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006.
He faced a minimum of five years and a maximum of 29 years in prison.
The conviction marked the first criminal fallout from a raft of allegations that the Oscar-winning movie producer used his clout to lure women, sexually assault or harass them and then silence them.
Both of the women Weinstein was convicted of assaulting told the court about the damage he did to them, and the empowerment they felt when testifying against him.
Haleyi broke down in tears as she told the court that 2006 attack scarred her deeply and “stripped me of my dignity as a woman.” The encounter made her rethink her career in the entertainment business and left her feeling afraid of retaliation, she said.
Weinstein, who has maintained that any sexual activity was consensual, showed no reaction to the sentence.
In his address to the court, he touched on his past charitable fund-raising, his filmmaking career and a pledge that his new “mission is to help people.” He said his “empathy has grown” since his downfall.
Weinstein reported chest pains later in the day at Rikers Island Jail Complex and was taken back to a locked jail ward at Bellevue Hospital, a spokesperson of his said. He remained there, where he spent time after conviction, as of wednesday night.
Years of whispers about Weinstein’s alleged behavior burst into public view in The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017.
In the aftermath, more than 90 women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and other actresses, publicly accused Weinstein of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The takedown energized the #MeToo movement for speaking up about sexual assault.
Time’s Up, an organization created in the wake of #MeToo, on wednesday hailed the women who testified against him for “the impact that they have had on our culture at large.”...