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Weinstein indicted on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts

Harvey Weinstein was indicted on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts by a New York City grand jury on Wednesday.

Weinstein turned himself in to New York police authorities on May 25 and was then arraigned on charges including rape in the first and third degrees and a felony charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. This latter charge relates to Lucia Evans who alleges that the producer forced her to perform oral sex on him during a casting meeting, according to The New York Times. The rape victim stated in the charges is unknown to the public.

For years, Weinstein faced accusations of rape, sexual assault and sexual misconduct. In October 2017, the New York Times revealed the former Hollywood mogul “paid off” his accusers in order to avoid charges.

The producer, who was once chief executive of The Weinstein Company, was accused of incidents including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact for three decades, according to a New York Times exposé. According to the newspaper, dozens of his employees knew about his inappropriate behaviour but remained silent as women who were allegedly harassed by Weinstein were given monetary compensation ranging from amounts of $80 000 to $150 000.

After these revelations made their way into the public domain, there was immense pressure for his associates to act. According to a report in Variety magazine, the Weinstein Company’s board of directors voted to fire the executive days after the investigation broke. Since then, more than 80 women have come forward with allegations of Weinstein’s sexual impropriety, according to Vox.

The allegations catalysed the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, sparking worldwide condemnation from social media users sharing their personal experiences of abuse, assault and rape at the hands of powerful and well-connected men. 

The Weinstein allegations have led to men and women in the entertainment industry speaking up about other prominent Hollywood men who had allegedly committed acts of abuse, assault and sexual misconduct. Actors including Louis C.K., Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey are among those accused of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman claims the allegations are “unsupported”. Weinstein himself denies the allegations of “non-consensual sex”, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Weinstein will appear in court on July 30.

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