Harvey Weinstein, a simultaneously accused rapist of women and self-declared savior of them, starts his criminal trial in Manhattan on Monday, having been charged with five counts of predatory sexual assault, criminal sex acts, and rape.
It was a long road to get here—decades, according to the women accusing him of assault, and several years and many trial date pushbacks since the New York Times first published their bombshell report on the allegations against Weinstein in 2017. More than 80 women have come forward since them, alleging Weinstein committed harassment, assault, and rape, all the while threatening and destroying their careers. And yet, Weinstein seems to think he’ll be just fine.
In an interview with CNN, Weinstein once again claimed innocence, blaming the media for sensationalizing the allegations and tarnishing his reputation. He added that if he’s found not guilty, he’ll focus on “[his] children, [his] health and rest,” and also this:
His former movie studio, The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded in 2005 with his now estranged brother, Bob Weinstein, is no more. But he believes it is possible for him to rebuild a career in the film industry.
“It will take a bit of work to build back to it,” Weinstein wrote. “If I can get back to doing something good and building places that help heal and comfort others, I intend to do so.”
I’d like to think, after two years, endless headlines and lawsuits, dozens of allegations, and an entire MeToo movement, Weinstein will never work in Hollywood again. Unfortunately, precedent suggests it’s possible he will, that when the trial is over and lawsuits settled, he’ll find a way back in like the rest of them. As my colleague Shannon Melero put it so well last month:
Is it possible for a man whose films will continue to be viewed, who will continue to be lauded for his work, and who will most likely buy his way out of the spotlight, to receive an acceptable form of justice? Even with his now-bankrupt company, Harvey Weinstein may still be too big to be taken down entirely.
I guess we’ll see. The New York Times reports that the trial kicks off with two weeks of jury selection. It is expected to last at least two months.