After Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison, several of his accusers stepped forward to express their relief and gratitude

By Alexia Fernandez
March 11, 2020 01:31 PM
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Harvey Weinstein‘s sentencing resulted in a swarm of reactions — including from the women who accused him of rape.

Weinstein, 67, was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday after his February conviction on charges of a first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape.

The disgraced movie producer could have faced up to 29 years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum while Weinstein’s defense attorneys argued for the minimum sentence of five years.

Although more than 80 women have claimed they were victimized by Weinstein, according to The New York Times, the charges in the Manhattan trial were focused on only two women: former production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi and aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

Several A-list actresses shared their reactions to Weinstein’s sentencing on Twitter and Instagram, including some of his accusers such as Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette.

“23 years. Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for his crimes of rape and sexual assault,” Sorvino tweeted. “I literally cried tears of amazement, gratitude that the justice system has worked on behalf of all of his victims today.”

Arquette tweeted, “Gratitude to all the silence breakers especially Rose and all survivors of weinstein to the brave women who testified and to the incredible investigative reporting of Ronan farrow who uncovered the sabotage and spying and to david Remnick thank you Rich McKuen and ny times.”

In a New Yorker interview with Ronan Farrow, who helped break the news of the Weinstein scandal in October 2017, McGowan expressed relief at the sentencing, saying, “I haven’t exhaled in so long.”

“I was honestly shocked. And I’m still quite shocked, pleasantly, of course, because the other alternative is misery,” McGowan said. “And I know that every woman who has been affected by him and everybody who’s ever been affected by this period had this kind of collected breath held, right? And this is not a referendum on #MeToo, you know, which Tarana [Burke, who created the term] created as a language tool, right? ‘This happened to me, too’ — that’s what it is.”

Ellen Barkin also tweeted, “23 years. God bless you, Jessica Mann, Mimi Hayley and all 108 survivors for your courage and fight. Thank you Ronan Farrow. Thank you Judge Burke. Thank you to the jury. Thank you for believing survivors. Thank you for changing the future for us all.”

Jim Carrey shared a drawing he created of Weinstein look disheveled with the words, “Harvey Weinstein 1952-2020.”

Jameela Jamil also reacted on Twitter, writing, “Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in jail! Congratulations to the incredible women who took this monster on, in spite of how maliciously he retaliated. You have made a huge leap forward for all women with this victory. Also so much love to @RonanFarrow.”

Farrow’s mother, the actress Mia Farrow, tweeted, “Harvey Weinstein Is Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison. Thoughts with every courageous women who, knowing the risks, dared to come forward to speak their truth.”

Farrow, who also wrote the book Catch and Kill which went in-depth on serial abusers, also tweeted his thoughts, writing, “In a letter to the judge this week, Weinstein’s attorneys said that reporting “destroyed“ his life. In fact, it fairly parsed a mountain of evidence suggesting Weinstein’s actions accomplished that. I hope it encourages more people to speak and more outlets to back tough stories.”

“The Weinstein sentence reminds us of the importance of those sources and of leaders at news organizations who refused to kill the story—including the editors at the New Yorker who published the first allegations of rape and assault about Weinstein,” he continued. “A lot of news underlines how hard it is to hold wealthy and connected people accountable. Today’s shows the power of people who speak up, from a position of far less power, at great personal risk.”

Weinstein, a producer behind 20 best-picture Oscar nominees — his five winners in the category include Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and The King’s Speech — had fiercely denied the allegations, countering that his sexual encounters with the two accusers in the New York case were consensual.

His fall from grace was swift. His prosecution followed two investigations published separately in October 2017 by the Times and The New Yorker magazine that propelled the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual assault in the entertainment industry and other workplaces.

Mira Sorvino, Rose McGowan
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

In a statement to PEOPLE after the verdict, Weinstein’s lawyers said, “While he was not convicted on the most serious charges, we are disappointed in the verdict and will be filing an appeal. There are issues in this trial that were extremely troubling, and they prejudiced Mr. Weinstein’s ability to have his case fairly judged.”

Weinstein faces additional charges in Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on January 6 unsealed new charges there, accusing Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

He has not yet entered a plea to those allegations, which carry a separate penalty of 28 years in state prison if he is later convicted on those California charges.