Before we begin, I want to emphasize that just because a court and jury convicts someone of something does NOT automatically mean we know that person did those things they were accused of, nor does it always mean it was the right decision to punish them. I think many on the Left in this forum have too much unquestioning faith in government process. Judges and juries are imperfect, and do not always make totally logical decisions. Sometimes applying perfect logic can be difficult in very complex complicated real-world situations. So I will attempt to provide some very rough outline of the case against Weinstein, so maybe you can try to decide for yourselves. Long as this thread is, it is still a vastly simplified summary, for your convenience.
First (even though this will probably be counterproductive to the whole purpose of this thread) I want to say that, I have the feeling that Weinstein is probably guilty. Many of you will probably want to stop reading right there. Why care about someone who got sent to prison if they are probably guilty? The issue is the principle of the thing. Weinstein may "probably" be guilty, but a lot of that comes from more of a feeling rather than actual logic and certainty. If this could happen to Weinstein, it could conceivably also happen to other men who are were not actually guilty. And there does exist a chance Weinstein might not be guilty. So I think it's important we look at this story and analyze it for fairness, even if we may have the feeling that Weinstein probably got what he deserved.
The news media reported this story but not once even suggested or asked the question whether his conviction and punishment were really fair. All the news coverage was phrased with the assumption that Weinstein was guilty of having raped women.
In 2022, Ms Siebel Newsom gave testimony that she had been raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in 2005.
Ms Siebel Newsom (married in 2008 ) is now the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, which in my view lends her claims credibility. However, the jury in the trial was unable to reach a consensus on whether Weinstein was guilty of raping Ms Newsom, and so a mistrial was declared for this specific criminal charge.
Another woman, named Lauren Young, also testified that she was raped by Weinstein in 2013. The jury was also unable to reach a verdict on the charges involving her.
Another woman, known only as "Jane Doe 3", was massage therapist and testified that he been raped by Weinstein in 2010. The jury voted "not guilty" for that alleged rape involving her.
Another woman, known as "Jane Doe 1", was a Russian-born model, and testified that she had been raped by Weinstein in February 2013.
So this is a rape that happened 9 years ago and she waited all this time to report it.
There were a total of 87 women who came forward to accuse Weinstein of individually raping them, in the past. Eighty-seven.
Now, the first thought that most people have when they see that is, 87 women accusing a man of rape, he definitely has to be a rapist. Sure, we might not know for certain if each individual woman is telling the truth, but certainly at least many of those women must be telling the truth.
But that right there is where I think most people fall into making an error in logic.
Consider, there are 87 women each accusing this man of rape, all of the alleged rapes happened many years ago. Let's assume all these women are telling the truth. It defies belief that 87 women could have been raped and not one of them came forward to report it earlier, shortly after the rape happened. That feels like a near statistical improbability to me.
Let's take a look at the start of the timeline of allegations against Weinstein.
On October 5, 2017, The New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment (not rape) against Harvey Weinstein. Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the women who came forward. The accusations were that he forced women to massage him and watch him naked, and also that he promised to help advance their careers in return for sexual favors.
Those allegations are plausible, but it is not rape.
Weinstein issued a public apology, saying that he "has caused a lot of pain". But he disputed allegations that he harassed female employees over nearly three decades.
But that's the time point where the water started frothing with piranhas.
The story was widely publicized in the media, across the nation. And that's when scores of women started coming forward to accuse him.
What could be the motivation for all these women to lie? Well first, you kind of have to understand this as a little bit like a phenomena of mass hysteria. If you have millions of women seeing a story, a very tiny fraction of women reacting in a certain way to that can still end up being a sizeable number.
Weinstein was a rich man. At one time his net worth as estimated to be as much as $300 million. In both New York and California (where most of the sexual assaults are alleged to have occurred) there has developed a court precedent of suing men for large amounts of money over allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment. And those awards of money can be ridiculously huge if the individual or company being sued has large amounts of money.
In short, if these women wanted to convincingly be able to sue the man for money, they would need to testify against him, preferably resulting in his conviction, in criminal court first. There was a clear and big financial incentive for these women to accuse Weinstein.
On October 10, 2017, two more actresses came forward and claimed that Weinstein sexually assaulted them, Actress Asia Argento and Lucia Stoller.
On October 12, Rose McGowan wrote on Twitter that Weinstein raped her.
On October 15, Lysette Anthony, a British actress, said that Weinstein raped her at her London home in the late 1980s. Four more unidentified British women made reports to police, saying that they were raped by Weinstein in 1992, 2010, 2011 and 2015.
Another woman in California went to police and told them she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in 2013.
These accusations were immediately published in the media.
On October 25, Mimi Haleyi, a former production worker, alleged that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006, constituting sexual assault.
Actress Dominique Huett also alleged that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her without her consent, and filed a negligence lawsuit against Weinstein's company, trying to get money.
On October 26, Natassia Malthe, a Norwegian actress, accused Weinstein of raping her in a London hotel in 2008.
On October 27, actress Annabella Sciorra accused Weinstein of forcing himself into her apartment and raping her in the early 1990s.
Actress Daryl Hannah also alleged that Weinstein tried to force himself into her hotel room and repeatedly sexually harassed her.
On October 28, actress Rose McGowan claimed she turned down a $1 million settlement offer from Harvey Weinstein in exchange for her silence.
On November 1, a Canadian actress, only identified as "Jane Doe", sued Weinstein for two alleged sexual assaults in 2000 in Toronto. The anonymous actress, sought a total of $14 million Canadian dollars.
On November 2, actress Paz de la Huerta spoke in an interview with Vanity Fair and said Weinstein raped her twice in New York in 2010.
The next day New York police announced they had "an actual case" against Weinstein from an unidentified women, who the media believed was probably Paz de la Huerta.
On November 28, it became known that the first woman in the U.K. was trying to sue Weinstein for money, alleging a series of sexual assaults.
On December 1, actress Kadian Noble made the accusation that Weinstein lured her into a hotel room in France and sexually assaulted her in 2014. She filed a lawsuit against Weinstein's company, trying to get money.
(The lawsuit was filed in New York, so she was seeking to get the state of New York to order Weinstein's company, and Weinstein's brother, to pay her money for a sexual assault Weinstein had allegedly committed in France)
(I'm not going to be able to cover all the other individual rape accusations that happened after that time point against Weinstein because the list is so long)
In addition there were multiple other women who came forward, claiming that Weinstein did sexually inappropriate things, or made very inappropriate sexual advances towards them. These claims are more believable, but it should be emphasized that having a pattern of doing sexually inappropriate things does not mean that Weinstein raped the other women.
The courts seemed to conflate the two together, but I think it's important that a distinction be drawn between the two. Weinstein may have been a pervert who had difficulty controlling his sexual impulses and pushed himself onto and pressured women to sleep with him. But that does not mean he is a rapist, and that does not mean the rape accusations women made against him are true.
All of this was being constantly published in the media, and the women accusing him of rape knew what the allegations of sexual misconduct against him were. These women knew that Weinstein would have been a very easy target. If a man is already being accused of all sorts of awful sexual misconduct, it's very easy to also accuse that man of rape and be believed.
There is yet another motivation many of the women may have had to falsely accuse Weinstein of rape. That is that the "MeToo" social movement had gained prominence that year. There was a popular trend of victims of sexual harassment and assault to share their stories on the big social sites on the internet (Facebook, Twitter). There was a push to change society so that women would be believed, when they made accusations of sexual misconduct against men. Some women may have felt that women were not being believed, and perpetrators were not being punished. So what better way to help a woman be believed than another woman also making an accusation against that same man being accused? If a man is being accused by one woman of raping her, maybe no one will believe her. But if two women are accusing him of rape, the women have to be believed. Women working together for "social justice", for a "virtuous cause".
I've observed this same sort of phenomena in other cases where men get wrongfully convicted. For some reason people believe that an individual is guilty of some terrible crime but they know the evidence is not strong enough to prove it. So one person, completely believing that suspect is guilty, lies or plants evidence to try to help make sure that suspect is punished. In their mind they think they are doing the right thing. Then along comes another person, not knowing what the first person did, and they see the evidence. It really makes it look like that person is guilty. So they lie too, trying to get the suspect sent to prison. It's a "snowball" effect. People lie because they think it will result in the right outcome. But each of those people are not aware that previous people before them also lied. That second person probably would have never lied if it was not for the first person who lied, making the suspect look more guilty.
The Weinstein case could likely have been a corollary of that.
It was a snowball effect. Some women made allegations (probably true) of awful sexual misconduct. One woman comes along and accuses Weinstein of rape, and then the floodgates opened. At that point this man appears to be a rapist, so other women start coming forward to also accuse him of rape, trying to help the first woman be believed, while also seeking to get a nice chunk of money for themselves.
And then it snowballs.
If these women totally believed Weinstein had a long history of sexual misconduct and was a rapist, assaulting many women, then why not falsely accuse him? If you think he deserves to go to prison for life anyway, you're not going to be concerned what happens to him, as a result of your false accusations. And there's plenty of money to be had. Why not grab some of it for yourself?
The chances that the authorities are ever going to figure and prove that you are lying are slim, it almost never happens. That's all the more the case when the rape is alleged to have happened 7 years ago.
The real problem here, in my opinion, is that courts and juries are willing to award huge amounts of money based on only the woman's accusations, no other evidence.
I have to believe that the majority of these women accusing Weinstein of raping them were lying. (Even if Weinstein was a rapist)
And that then begs the question, if most of the women who were accusing him were lying, couldn't it easily be possible that all of the women who were accusing him of raping them were lying?
What if Weinstein was just guilty of all sorts of terrible sexual misconduct and sexual harassment, but not anything that actually went as far as rape?
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in New York, convicted of rape and two sexual assault charges involving only one victim, an accuser, her known as "Jane Doe 1", her identity kept anonymous from the public. The judge probably increased the prison sentence based on the rape accusations from other women, even though Weinstein was not actually convicted of those crimes. (Yes, a defendant can be punished for crimes they were not convicted of, a fact many people do not realize)
Three other women accused Weinstein of raping them at that trial.
After that, Weinstein was then sentenced to an additional 16 years in prison in California.
For a total of 39 years.
Since Weinstein was already 70 years old at the time of his sentencing, it is almost certain that he will have to spend the remainder of his life in prison.