[Update: Harvey Weinstein’s bond was set at $10 million, and paid $1 million in cash to post bail.]
The former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has surrendered to police this morning, as a Manhattan prosecutor brings charges that Weinstein sexually assaulted two women. His bail is expected to be set at $2 million. Law enforcement officials said Weinstein would be charged with first-degree rape and third-degree rape in one case, and with first-degree criminal sex act in a second. It’s the latest stunning development in Weinstein’s downfall, which rocked Hollywood and helped spark a global movement of women coming forward to accuse men of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Part of the New York case stems from the accusations of former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says Weinstein sexually assaulted her back in 2004. In total, more than 100 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment, in cases that stretch back decades. In Paris, we speak with Louise Godbold, the executive director of Echo Parenting & Education and author of the blog post, “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma.”
AMY GOODMAN: “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now” by Amanda Palmer and Jasmine Power. The song was released a few days ago to raise money for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. The musicians said, “This song is dedicated to every woman everywhere around the world who has been trapped in a room with a man who used his power to rip her mind in two.” This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman.
The former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has surrendered to police this morning, as a Manhattan prosecutor brings charges that Weinstein sexually assaulted two women. His bail is expected to be set at $2 million. Law enforcement officials said Weinstein would be charged with first-degree rape and third-degree rape in one case, and with first-degree criminal sex act in a second. It’s the latest stunning development in Weinstein’s downfall, which rocked Hollywood and helped spark a global movement of women coming forward to accuse men of rape, sexual assault and harassment. For decades, Weinstein was one of the most powerful and politically connected men in the United States.
Part of the New York case stems from the accusations of former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says Weinstein sexually assaulted her back in 2004. She had just finished her junior year at Middlebury College, when she was invited to a daytime meeting with Weinstein at the Miramax office. There, she says, Weinstein pushed her head down, forced her to perform oral sex on him. She told The New Yorker magazine, “I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don’t.’ … I tried to get away. … He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” The accuser in the first case against Weinstein has not yet been named. In total, more than 100 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and harassment, in cases that stretch back decades. His serial abuse was protected and even facilitated by a slew of people across Hollywood. The New Yorker magazine also reports Weinstein hired the secretive company Black Cube, which is run by former Israeli intelligence officers, in order to intimidate women and suppress allegations Weinstein—against Weinstein about his abuse.
His arrest today comes only one month after another extremely powerful man in entertainment, comedian Bill Cosby, was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand back in 2004. She was the former director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater. Like Weinstein, Cosby has been accused of rape and sexual assault by dozens of women, also in cases stretching back decades. The 80-year-old comedian, now facing up to 30 years in prison, will be sentenced later this summer.
For more, we’re joined by two of the brave women who have come forward to accuse Weinstein and Cosby. From Paris, France, we’re joined by Louise Godbold, the executive director of Echo Parenting & Education, author of the blog, “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma.” And from Los Angeles, visual artist and actor Lili Bernard. She accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping her in the early ’90s when he mentored her in preparation for her guest starring role on The Cosby Show.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s begin in Paris with Louise Godbold. Your reaction to what is happening as we broadcast this show right now? Harvey Weinstein is in custody, facing rape charges.
LOUISE GODBOLD: My reaction is, it’s about bloody time. We’ve been waiting for a long time for this to happen. And there has been this awful void between the allegations becoming public and actually something happening about it. Of course, we’re really glad that the police have taken their time to put together a very strong case, but it’s felt awful in this interim, because Harvey was out there, in Scottsdale, seemingly not that affected, whereas all of us who came forward have been living a nightmare of victim shaming and horrible trolls. And it’s about time that something happened and a statement’s made that you can’t behave like this, this is not “good old boy” behavior that you can get away with, there is an accounting.
AMY GOODMAN: Back in October, you wrote a blog post titled “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma.” Can you talk about what happened to you? Now, yours is not one of these cases that he is being charged with right now, but explain what happened.
LOUISE GODBOLD: Well, it’s not one of the cases because of the statute of limitations. My first assault was in New York, actually. And he took me on a tour of the building and, at some point, put my hand on his crotch. And as I tried to get away, he followed me to the elevators and then kissed me in front of all of his staff, which was hugely embarrassing. And then, when I met him in L.A.—I thought, for him to make amends and to give me some contacts to follow up with—he then tried the—what we now know is a very time-honored MO for him of asking me for a massage and basically presenting himself naked, trying to massage me, at which point I made a quick escape.
AMY GOODMAN: You wrote in your post, “the predators continue, unaccountable, because society—the comments on the Internet, the friends and families who urge silence, the conditioning of women to be 'nice' and excuse men’s behavior or take the blame on themselves—allows the predators to transfer their shame onto their victims.” Do you think this dynamic is changing? Do you think today suggests a new chapter? I mean, at least at the point of this broadcast, they’re saying he may be—a $2 million bond may be set, but that possibly he will be freed with an ankle bracelet.
LOUISE GODBOLD: I love the idea of Harvey walking around with an ankle bracelet. As for whether this changes things, we’ll have to see if there’s a conviction. As you know, an arrest doesn’t guarantee a conviction. I think the important thing, for all of us, of course, seeing a rapist behind bars is a high priority, but the important thing is to have some acknowledgment that this happened and that it was very harmful. And I think sexual assault victims all over the world feel the same way, because it’s kind of like gaslighting. If the perpetrator is saying this never happened, then all of your pain, all of your suffering, all of the crazy tics that you develop—then, why are they there, if nothing happened? It’s a real slap in the face. And I think it’s very, very important that Harvey does come to account.
And what I would really love to see is some remorse. I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but I loved what happened with the Nassar case, where he had to sit there and listen to the victims reading out their letters, and really understand what he had done. And if somebody doesn’t have the potential for remorse, it still doesn’t matter, because the message has been given to society that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. If it once was, those days are long over. And, really, get a clue.