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Actresses and activists react to Harvey Weinstein verdict

(Reuters) - Celebrities and activists welcomed the guilty verdict against Harvey Weinstein, the Academy Award-winning producer who had reigned as one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the New York Criminal Court during his ongoing sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Accusations against Weinstein helped fuel the #MeToo movement of women speaking out about mistreatment. Hollywood celebrities also founded Times Up, an organization dedicated to fighting sexual harassment and abuse across all industries.

Below are some of the reactions to the verdict.

- “My testimony was painful but necessary. I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart. While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. For in speaking truth to power we pave the way for a more just culture, free of the scourge of violence against women,” actress Annabella Sciorra, one of the prosecution witnesses in the trial, said in a statement.

- “Today is a powerful day & a huge step forward in our collective healing,” tweeted actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her.

- “For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you,” tweeted actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women in October 2017 to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

- “Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense,” tweeted actress Rosanna Arquette, who has said she resisted unwanted sexual advances by Weinstein.

“We will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited and so that it’s easier for people to report their rapes,” she added.

- “While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator,” the Silence Breakers, a group of Weinstein accusers, said in a statement.

“This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers,” the statement added.

- “This trial - and the jury’s decision today - marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work,” Time’s Up president and CEO Tina Tchen said in a statement.

“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made since the Weinstein Silence Breakers ignited an unstoppable movement,” Tchen added.

“While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broken system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues. Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back,” she said.

- “Today’s historic win in the Weinstein trial is a testament to the bravery and resilience of the #SilenceBreakers, and a victory for survivors everywhere. This is just the beginning,” actress Reese Witherspoon wrote on Twitter.

- “Today’s outcome in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial is the result of the decisions of multiple women to come forward to journalists and to prosecutors at great personal cost and risk. Please keep those women in your thoughts today,” New Yorker journalist Ronan Farrow, who broke stories about allegations against Weinstein, wrote on Twitter.

- “Harvey Weinstein has been handcuffed & taken to jail!” said Rosie Perez, who testified at Weinstein’s trial to bolster the account of friend and fellow actress Annabella Sciorra.

- “Harvey Weinstein operated with impunity and without remorse for decades in Hollywood. Yet, it still took years, and millions of voices raised, for one man to be held accountable by the justice system,” the Me Too organization said in a statement.

“This case reminds us that sexual violence thrives on unchecked power and privilege. The implications reverberate far beyond Hollywood and into the daily lives of all of us in the rest of the world,” the statement added.

“Though today a man has been found guilty, we have to wonder whether anyone will care about the rest of us tomorrow. This is why we say MeToo,” the group said.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Howard Goller

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