With Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial slated to begin within days, two dozen of his accusers have issued a statement about the disgraced movie producer, signalling their intention to continue to speak out.
“Next week, the world will be watching as Harvey Weinstein walks into court to stand trial for a fraction of the egregious crimes he has committed,” the Silence Breakers, a group composed of many of his accusers, said in a statement Friday. “Weinstein is a serial predator who sexually abused women for decades, taking advantage of his power and connections to systematically silence the women who could bring his crimes to light.
“More than two years ago – thanks to the courage of so many women who risked everything to come forward – this ugly facade came down and he finally faced a public and professional reckoning for his actions. This trial is critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change. We refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice.”
A representative for the ex-movie mogul could not be immediately reached for comment.
Weinstein faces charges of sexual assault involving multiple women in New York City on January 6. He has denied engaging in nonconsensual sex with women.
In December, Weinstein was widely criticised for calling himself “the forgotten man” in an interview with The New York Post and citing how many women he helped during his career. The comments triggered a swift backlash, including a formal statement signed by 23 of his accusers.
The Silence Breakers include Rosanna Arquette, Jessica Barth, Zoe Brock, Rowena Chiu, Caitlin Dulany, Dawn Dunning, Lucia Evans, Louisette Geiss, Louise Goodbold, Larissa Gomes, Dominique Huett, Katherine Kendall, Jasmine Lobe, Sarah Ann Masse, Rose McGowan, Emily Nestor, Lauren O’Connor, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Lisa Rose, Erika Rosenbaum, Lauren Sivan, Melissa Thompson and Paula Williams.
Weinstein and his former film studio’s board have reached a controversial US$47 million settlement with several women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, according to lawyers involved in the negotiations.
About US$25 million will be allocated to the accusers, US$7.3 million to unsecured creditors and former Weinstein Company employees and about US$12.2 million will be earmarked to pay legal fees of the studio’s directors and officers, according to a copy of the settlement term sheet obtained by The Times. The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2018.
Weinstein, the producer behind such Oscar-winning hits as Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and The King’s Speech, was fired from his company in October 2017 after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct.