Harvey Weinstein And What Happens Next

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is a hot topic in Hollywood as the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolds. While some celebrities seem jaded, others are optimistic about solving the problem. USA TODAY

Reports of Harvey Weinstein's horrific treatment of women continues to emerge following a 'New York Times' report detailing decades of alleged harassment.(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

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A dizzying number of reports detailing claims of sexual abuse and harassment by movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and allegations of a culture of complicity at his eponymous Weinstein Company, have ricocheted through the entertainment industry over the last week. 

Fallout from the allegations has been swift: The Weinstein Company has cut ties with the embattled company co-founder, firing Weinstein on Sunday while promising an independent investigation into his actions. Celebrities and politicians have condemned the movie mogul. His wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, is leaving him

And the reverberations are likely to continue. Here's what to expect.

Q: Could Weinstein be charged criminally?

A: Potentially. There’s no statute of limitations in New York for rape, criminal sexual acts or aggravated sexual abuse, where several of the alleged events occurred. And the district attorney’s office has the right to re-open or open a case, says Stuart P. Slotnick, a defense attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC in New York specializing in business litigation.

“Particularly if there is new evidence and new circumstances,” Slotnick says. “He basically admitted to doing very bad things, and so that could play into the DA’s office analysis of whether they want to re-open the case, or re-interview complainants.”

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Harvey Weinstein was fired from the film company he co-founded, The Weinstein Company. (Photo: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

The sheer number of women who have stepped forward with similar stories could help convince police or a district attorney to look at re-opening a case or opening a new case.

“That’s going to indicate to the prosecutor's office and to police that there’s a pattern here we need to be concerned about, and lend credibility to any single complainants,” says Shan Wu, a defense lawyer in Washington, D.C., and former federal sex crimes prosecutor.

Related: Rose McGowan rips Twitter; Tom Hanks blames Hollywood entitlement

More: Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow say Weinstein harassed them, too

Whether other cases and complaints can be introduced at a trial is a separate question. Additionally, cases that involve few witnesses, such as those with only the accuser and accused alone together in a hotel room, can be challenging to prove.

“The prosecutors are typically pretty conservative, they are looking at having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Wu says. “They are traditionally very worried about cases that depend 100% on credibility of one witness and not forensic evidence.”

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Stars including Annette Bening, Demi Lovato, Margot Robbie and Jamie Bell give their opinions on the Harvey Weinstein scandal engulfing Hollywood. AP

Q: Will there be civil lawsuits?

A: There’s potential for many civil suits to be filed on all sides, including by Weinstein, who has threatened to sueThe New York Times.

Accusers may sue Weinstein, as they did with Bill Cosby, for infliction of emotional distress.

The Weinstein Company and its shareholders may also go after Weinstein for damages for breach of fiduciary duties if the scandal causes the company to lose revenue or go under.

"Clearly this is extremely toxic to the Weinstein Company to the extent that he was the leader of the company and now he’s out," Slotnick says. "There are questions of whether they’ll be able to survive without him." 

 

Q: Will more accusers step forward?

A: Over the last few days, a half-dozen additional women have voiced stories of harassment and abuse that fit the pattern initially reported by the Times. And as National Sexual Violence Resource Center communications director Laura Palumbo points out, the onslaught of stories can have a domino effect.

“We do know that when there is a high-profile person, it really captures the public attention, especially in a case like this where so many survivors are coming forward after so long. It really does encourage others who have not come forward about their experiences of sexual harassment or sexual assault to speak up about it,” Palumbo says. “They may feel empowered by the response that they’re seeing to this case to pursue their own legal options.”

Though there’s been support for accusers, with many in Hollywood praising them as brave, Palumbo says there may also be critics, which can be hard for those already traumatized.

“What we’ll also likely see is a lot of people criticizing and detracting from their voices, suggesting there may be ulterior motives, and in other ways attacking their character,” Palumbo says. “That is something that is so harmful and negatively impactful for those individuals, and also something that impacts survivors on a wider scale.”

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Wife Georgina Chapman said in a statement following continued accusations against Harvey Weinstein: "I have chosen to leave my husband." (Photo: Andy Kropa, Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Q: What are the next flashpoints?

A: The board of governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences met to review Weinstein’s membership during an emergency meeting Saturday, after issuing a statement Wednesday calling Weinstein’s alleged actions “repugnant, abhorrent and antithetical” to the group which organizes the Oscars.

The outcome of their meeting: Weinstein is out.

In a statement, the board said they "voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel him from the Academy," because "we do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over."

Then there's the possibility of new information coming forward.

"We don’t know what’s going to come out tomorrow, much less next week. This is still in the news cycle because there is a constant stream of new revelations coming out," says Mark Macias, head of the crisis firm Macias PR. "He needs to go to rehabilitation, not only to get out of the news cycle but (to show) he's trying to change his life."

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Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars in Los Angeles in 2016. (Photo: Al Powers, Al Powers/Invision/AP)

Q: What's next for The Weinstein Company?

A: The remaining board of directors at The Weinstein Company said in a statement Tuesday that the depth of Weinstein’s alleged offenses "come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false."

But David Boies, a lawyer who represented Weinstein when his contract was up for renewal in 2015, told >The New York Times that the board and the company were made aware at the time of three or four confidential settlements with women.

If there's evidence the company knew about or should have known about harassment and assault, the liability floodgates will open. Employees or former employees may be able to claim that Weinstein Company maintained a hostile work environment, and sue for emotional distress. 

"It's no different than negligent hiring," Wu says. "If they were on notice that he was a threat to women and they didn’t do anything about that, that’s a very big problem in terms of civil liability. I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to stop that tidal wave from coming down on them." 

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Harvey Weinstein was hit with allegations of almost
Harvey Weinstein was hit with allegations of almost three decades of sexual harassment Thursday in the 'New York Times.' The mega-producer has long been part of the Hollywood elite. Here, he poses with Sienna Miller at a dinner in 2009.  Donald Bowers, Getty Images for The Weinstein C>FullscreenFrom left to right, David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti,
From left to right, David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Zwick and Marc Norman all celebrate after receiving the Oscar for best picture for "Shakespeare In Love" during the 71st Annual Academy Awards Sunday, March 21, 1999 in Los Angeles. Paltrow won the Oscar for best actress in the movie.   Dave Caulkin, AP>FullscreenTom Cruise, who executive produced 'The Others' with
Tom Cruise, who executive produced 'The Others' with Weinstein in 2001, playfully engaged him at the premiere.  Kevin Winter, Getty Images>FullscreenIn 2010, Weinstein and Marion Cotillard spoke together
In 2010, Weinstein and Marion Cotillard spoke together during amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS benefit gala at that year's Cannes Film Festival.  Francois Durand, Getty Images>FullscreenKerry Washington and Harvey Weinstein posed for a photo
Kerry Washington and Harvey Weinstein posed for a photo at the 2010 premiere of 'The Tillman Story.'  Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images for the Weinstein C>FullscreenIn 2013, Weinstein and his then-pregnant wife Georgina
In 2013, Weinstein and his then-pregnant wife Georgina Chapman attended the Oscars, where his movie 'Silver Linings Playbook' was up for eight Academy Awards.  Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY>Fullscreen'Silver Linings Playbook,' earned Jennifer Lawrence
'Silver Linings Playbook,' earned Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar for best actress.  Charley Gallay, Getty Images for VF>FullscreenGeorge Clooney and Weinstein sat near each other at
George Clooney and Weinstein sat near each other at the 2013 Critics' Choice Awards.  Michael Kovac, WireImage>FullscreenHillary Clinton, then secretary of state, laughed with
Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, laughed with Weinstein at the 2012 TIME 100 Gala celebrating the magazine's list of the most influential people in the world.  Larry Busacca, Getty Images for TIME>FullscreenDuchess Kate met Weinstein at the 2013 London premiere
Duchess Kate met Weinstein at the 2013 London premiere of 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.'  Chris Jackson, Getty Images>FullscreenDirector Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Harvey Weinstein
Director Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Harvey Weinstein posed at the after-party for 'The Butler' in 2013.  Charley Gallay, Getty Images for TWC>FullscreenWeinstein was presented with the W.E.B. Du Bois medal
Weinstein was presented with the W.E.B. Du Bois medal by Glenn Hutchins in 2014 at Harvard. The Du†Bois Medal is Harvard's highest honor in the field of African and African-American Studies.  Steven Senne, AP>FullscreenAuctioneer Sharon Stone gets an assist from Jeremy
Auctioneer Sharon Stone gets an assist from Jeremy Renner, Nicole Kidman and Harvey Weinstein at the Cinema Against AIDS dinner in 2013.  Kevin Tachman, NONE>FullscreenWeinstein poses with Zendaya at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion
Weinstein poses with Zendaya at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards in 2015.  Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images>FullscreenWeinstein and his fashion-designer wife, Georgina Chapman,
Weinstein and his fashion-designer wife, Georgina Chapman, hit the 2017 Weinstein Company-Netflix Golden Globes After-Party.  NINA PROMMER, EPA>FullscreenWeinstein was in the first row for the February 2017
Weinstein was in the first row for the February 2017 Marchesa show at New York Fashion Week to see the latest designs from his wife's label. He was flanked by 'This Is Us' star Mandy Moore and 'Vogue' editor Anna Wintour.  Theo Wargo, (Credit too long, see caption)>FullscreenWeinstein sat with former NBC anchor and current Investigation
Weinstein sat with former NBC anchor and current Investigation Discovery host Tamron Hall at Marchesa's most recent New York Fashion Week show in September.  Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images For NYFW>FullscreenIn March, Weinstein, and JAY-Z spoke onstage during
In March, Weinstein, and JAY-Z spoke onstage during a town hall in NYC.  Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images for Spike>Fullscreen

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    Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/10/13/harvey-weinstein-so-what-happens-now/753222001/

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