Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul, was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault in a landmark case that has sparked a global reckoning over the abuse of power and the treatment of women.
Weinstein, 67, was found guilty last month of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He had faced a maximum of 29 years in prison for the two charges.
The sentence was handed down by Judge James Burke in a Manhattan courtroom after Weinstein had been convicted of raping an aspiring actress in a hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman in 2006.
The sentence was seen as a victory for the #MeToo movement, which has shone a light on sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry and beyond. The movement was sparked after dozens of women, including many A-list actresses, accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
The sentence was also seen as a warning to other powerful men in Hollywood, and beyond, that such behavior will not be tolerated.
Weinstein’s lawyers had argued for a lenient sentence, citing his age and health issues. But prosecutors argued for a harsher sentence, citing the “lifetime of abuse” Weinstein inflicted on his victims.
In a statement after the sentencing, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said, “We thank the survivors for their remarkable strength and courage throughout this process. Harvey Weinstein deployed nothing less than an army of spies to keep them silent. But they refused to be silent, and they were heard. Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world.”
Weinstein will now serve 16 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after five years. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
The sentencing of Weinstein is a major milestone in the #MeToo movement and a sign that sexual misconduct will no longer be tolerated. It’s a powerful reminder that victims of sexual assault have a voice, and that their voices can and will be heard.