Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years for Rape and Assault; Feminists and Survivors Rejoice

Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault—far higher than the five years his lawyers requested.

Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, the two primary accusers in the case, were present in the New York courtroom. As they exited the room—after the conviction was delivered—the other attendees in the audience applauded them.

Haley, who says she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in his apartment in 2006, addressed the court at Weinstein’s sentencing: “He had crushed a part of my spirit. If he was not convicted of rape and sexual assault by this jury, it would have happened again and again. I’m relieved there are women who are safer because he is not out there.”

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The celebratory atmosphere extended beyond the courtroom to the online sphere.

The case against Weinstein first began in October 2017, when two New York Times reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Actors Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the women who came forward.

On Wednesday, reporter Jodi Kantor seemed awe-struck as she reacted to the news on Twitter.

From there, the #MeToo movement spread instantly, as an avalanche of stories from women using the hashtag appeared, speaking about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault, especially in the workplace.  

More than two years after the first allegations emerged, feminists around the world celebrate this undeniable victory.


Roxy Szal is the managing digital editor at Ms. and a producer on the Ms. podcast On the Issues With Michele Goodwin. She is also a mentor editor for The OpEd Project. Before becoming a journalist, she was a Texas public school English teacher. She is based in Austin, Texas. Find her on Twitter @roxyszal.