Harvey Weinstein

#MeToo founder says campaign will continue after Weinstein verdict overturned

Author: Editors Desk, Joanna Walters and agency Source: The Guardian
April 26, 2024 at 10:36
Tarana Burke spoke with some of Weinstein’s accusers after the surprise overturning of his verdict on Thursday. Photograph: Steve Ruark/AP
Tarana Burke spoke with some of Weinstein’s accusers after the surprise overturning of his verdict on Thursday. Photograph: Steve Ruark/AP

Tarana Burke called Harvey Weinstein’s accusers ‘heroes’ and said movement would continue to bring progress to society

The founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, has called the women who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein “heroes” and said such campaigns for justice and equality will continue to bring about progress in society.

Burke, who nearly two decades ago coined the phrase “Me too” from her work with sexual assault survivors, found herself again declaring – after New York’s highest court in a shock decision on Thursday overturned Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction in the city – the #MeToo reckoning was greater than any court case.

A strong sign that the movement is still there, is international, and is still working was that, Burke said, “10 years ago we could not get a man like Harvey Weinstein into the courtroom.”

The movement, she said, was responsible for that huge cultural shift – regardless of the Hollywood mogul’s ultimate legal fate.

Thursday’s announcement was a huge blow and a worrying development for those who have been assaulted or sexually harassed, including by superiors in the workplace, and a setback that is also coming as Donald Trump is running for president again despite multiple accusations of sexual assault and predatory conduct over the years – and being found liable by a civil court for sexual abuse.

But Burke and other advocates joined Hollywood figures who were victims of Weinstein to express distress at the decision and declare that the movement goes on and will continue to change society, while prosecutors said they would seek a new trial of the movie mogul in New York.

“I can understand how devastating and disgusted and angry, just the range of emotions that so many of them must feel,” Burke said. “And I hope they understand for those of us survivors who will likely never see a day in court, that they are still heroes to us,” Burke said.

Anita Hill, who testified against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 supreme court confirmation hearing, becoming the face of the fight against sexual harassment more than a quarter-century before the Weinstein revelations fueled the #MeToo movement, said on Thursday: “The movement will persist.”

Hill added that it would be “driven by the truth of our testimonies. And changes to our systems and culture will follow.”

And Burke stressed in an interview with the Associated Press that while legal advances are necessary for progress, “the judicial system has never been a friend of survivors. And so it’s the reason why we need movements, because movements have historically been what has pushed the legal system to do the right thing.”

Burke said she spent Thursday morning speaking to accusers, including the actor Annabella Sciorra, who testified at the 2020 trial that Weinstein raped her, as she called the witnesses heroes.

Burke, who has spoken out about her own past as a survivor of abuse, added she could never imagine facing her own perpetrator in court.

“So just the fact that they got to do that, to bring a person, a man like Harvey Weinstein, to account for his crimes, is incredible,” she said.

You did not use the site, Click here to remain logged. Timeout: 60 second