It has finally happened. Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault against two women on Monday. Globally, this is a high-profile victory for the #MeToo movement against predatory bosses in particular and sexual harassment in general. While the prosecutors were let down by Weinstein’s acquittal on more serious charges such as predatory sexual assault, the fact that the man will be put behind bars is significant enough. It is a warning to all predators far and wide: No, they can’t get away with it. Time’s up. As District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said, the women who stood up and testified against Weinstein had “pulled our justice system into the 21st century".
Weinstein personified the worst of a toxic culture of sexism that was revealed to prevail even in an industry seen largely as liberal. Several A-list actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman, and Rose McGowan, had publicly accused him of forcing himself on them. The extent to which they were beholden to him for their careers is unclear, but the former producer apparently assumed that they owed him sexual access in lieu of his favour. The scandal blew the lid off a pattern of depravity among bosses trying to exercise such authority in varying degrees over female subordinates. This gave rise to the #MeToo protest.
India has seen a minor uprising as well, though event this could fizzle out without the open backing of the justice system. The most famous case here involves allegations against a politician and former newsman. While it may have claimed his ministership in the government, no guilt has been determined, nor is a trial underway to determine it. Instead, the one in the dock, fending off a defamation charge, is the brave journalist who brought the accusations to light.