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Dear Harvey, women’s words are finally enough

February 25, 2020, 12:56 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies at 101, women in entertainment get promoted—but not to the top, and there’s lots of meaning in Harvey Weinstein’s verdict. Have a nice Tuesday. 

– Guilty. Yesterday will certainly go down in history as a turning point in the #MeToo movement. The seven men and five women who served as jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s Manhattan trial found him guilty of two felony sex crimes and acquitted him on three other charges, including the most serious: of being a sexual predator

Weinstein, who came to represent the blatant abuse of institutionalized power imbalances between men and women, faces up to 29 years in prison, as well as a separate criminal trial in Los Angeles. His defense lawyers plan to appeal Monday’s verdict

For some, that the one-time movie mogul is behind bars, where he awaits sentencing, is victory enough. But there’s another triumph to claim. 

The particulars of the case—that there was no physical or forensic evidence—meant it turned wholly on the accounts of two women, Miriam Haley, a production assistant who claimed Weinstein performed oral sex on her by force in 2006, and Jessica Mann, an ex-actress who said Weinstein raped her in 2013. The trial was essentially a referendum on a matter at the heart of the #MeToo movement: whether women with claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault should be believed or not. 

To be sure, the jurors’ answer was not as resounding as it could have been; their acquittal of Weinstein on charges of predatory sexual assault suggested they found fault in the testimony of a third woman, Annabella Sciorra, who claims Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s, and who took the stand as prosecutors tried to establish Weinstein’s pattern of abuse. But in finding Weinstein guilty of rape (in Mann’s case) and a criminal sexual act (in Haley’s case), the jurors showed that in these instances, what women had to say mattered; neither victims’ later actions nor the passage of time diluted that value. 

Their message runs counter to a notion that contributed to the enormous problem of sexual harassment and assault going unaddressed for so long: that women with such claims can’t be trusted—surely they are misremembering, surely they are out for money, surely they were too drunk. It kept women from coming forward, and it fueled disbelief of those that did.  

The jurors’ message needs reinforcing in future cases, but on Monday it told us that in this pursuit of justice, women’s words were enough.

Claire Zillman
claire.zillman@fortune.com
@clairezillman

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Shoot for the moon. "They asked Katherine Johnson for the moon, and she gave it to them." That first line of this obituary sums up the life of Johnson, the trailblazing mathematician who calculated the trajectories that would allow Apollo 11 to land on the moon as depicted in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures. Johnson died at 101 yesterday. New York Times

- The secret to a Trumpian convention. Fortune's Nicole Goodkind traveled down to Charlotte to visit Marcia Lee Kelly, CEO of the 2020 Republican National Convention. With the nominee set, Kelly's job is to pull off a feat of pageantry, the grandest convention possible to please President Trump. In her prior job, Kelly decorated the Oval Office with gold curtains. She's now filing the paperwork to become an unpaid senior adviser to Melania Trump. Fortune 

- Glass ceiling in action. Women are promoted in the entertainment industry—but not to the top. A McKinsey report finds that women in entertainment jobs ask for promotions more frequently than men and are promoted to the manager level twice as often, but still only hold one-fourth of C-suite positions. Bloomberg

- Climate corner. The entire Thunberg family wrote a new book, Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis. According to the Guardian, Greta Thunberg's mother, Malena Ernman, writes about her daughter's period of depression and withdrawal—when she stopped almost entirely speaking and eating—before she found climate activism. In other climate news, the New York Times profiles the knitters who seek to represent rising temperatures via color-coded scarves. And the conservative think tank the Heartland Institute funds Naomi Seibt, a 19-year-old who is a climate change skeptic. 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dee Dee Myers will leave her role as head of corporate communications at Warner Bros. ServiceNow chief talent officer Pat Wadors joins the board of Accolade. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Call to action. Two incredibly gruesome murders in Mexico City—of 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla and 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia Aldrighett—and the response of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have set off weeks of protest over violence against women. López Obrador bristled at being asked to discuss "only femicide" compared to his broader efforts on crime. Mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum called femicide "an absolutely condemnable crime." New York Times

- First partner. If Mayor Mike Bloomberg were to become president, he would be without an official first lady. His partner is Diana Taylor, who is introduced on the campaign trail just by her name, without "wife" or "girlfriend;" she already served as the unofficial first lady of New York City. The former New York superintendent of banks, who once considered running for a New York Senate seat, met Bloomberg at a business luncheon 20 years ago. In other Bloomberg news, CNN reports he called Elizabeth Warren "scary" in a 2016 meeting in which he promised to "defend the banks." Washington Post

- Take two. Two years ago, activists came close to convincing Argentina to legalize abortion; the lower house of Congress voted in favor, but the Senate voted down the bill. Now those activists are trying again, this time with a new President, Alberto Fernández, who supports abortion rights. New York Times

- From the kitchen to the screen. Samin Nosrat, the author of Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat. and star of the Netflix show of the same name gives a wide-ranging interview to the New Yorker. "I sometimes feel embarrassed about my success, but I’ve decided to be done feeling that way," Nosrat says. The New Yorker

ON MY RADAR

Behind the scenes in the career of a prima ballerina Fortune

I’m a Muslim man, and I’m tired of taking my wife to gender-segregated mosques Slate

Other nations have been putting women in charge. Where’s the U.S.? Washington Post

Jenny Han has been here all along Elle

PARTING WORDS

"If Martha Stewart and Oprah had a daughter, it would be B. Smith." 

-B. Smith, the model, lifestyle mogul, and restaurateur. She died at 70 on Saturday after a two-decade battle with early-onset Alzheimer's.