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Can the Harvey Weinstein sentence take #MeToo to the next level?

March 12, 2020, 12:35 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We ponder what our newfound face-touching anxiety means for the makeup industry, the Senate GOP stops emergency paid sick leave legislation, and Harvey Weinstein is sentenced to 23 years. Have a good Thursday. 

– Justice is served. Now and then, the court system actually works as it should. One such moment happened yesterday, when Harvey Weinstein finally met the obstacle he couldn’t threaten, bully, or buy his way out of—a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault.

The shock that many of us felt to see that sentence handed down says something about the way such cases often go. We’ve become accustomed to seeing victims disbelieved and the rich and powerful walk free. As Tarale Wulff, an aspiring actress who testified that she’d been sexually assaulted by the disgraced producer (though her case did not meet New York’s laws for prosecution), put it: “No one thought we would be here today… No one thought Harvey would ever see a courtroom.”

But, after a jury found Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act, Justice James A. Burke chose to truly hold him accountable, saying: “Although this is a first conviction, it is not a first offense.”

Before announcing the 23-year sentence, Burke heard from Weinstein’s victims in the case, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, who both read devastating victim impact statements. “I ask, that you can contemplate that rape is not just one moment of penetration, it is forever,” Mann said. Read the full text of their statements here.

In taking their cases to court, Haley and Mann put themselves in an incredibly scary, vulnerable position, with no guarantee they’d be believed. So did the many other women who testified at their trial—and before them, the dozens and dozens of brave souls who told their stories of abuse at Weinstein’s hands to the NYT‘s Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow.

I dearly hope all those women are celebrating this sentence as a big, big win for justice. But of course, the fight goes on. Perhaps yesterday’s result will help convince others that it’s worth speaking out, worth trying to hold their assailant to account in a court of law. After all, Weinstein may be one of the #MeToo movement’s most notorious offenders, but he’s hardly the first or the last man to use his power in monstrous ways. And even his case hasn’t quite reached its conclusion: The Los Angeles DA has announced it had begun the process of extraditing Weinstein to California to face rape and sexual assault charges there.

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Emergency measure? The Senate GOP blocked Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rosa DeLauro's emergency paid sick leave bill yesterday. "It’s not a cure for the coronavirus to put a big new expensive federal mandate on employers who are struggling in the middle of this matter," Sen. Lamar Alexander, whose objection blocked the legislation from coming out of committee, said. HuffPost

- Inside OV, again. A second investigation reveals more details about the workplace at Outdoor Voices, which recently ousted founder Ty Haney. Ex-employees say a "toxic culture ... trickled down" from Haney. "In terms of creative direction, she’s a visionary and a f*** genius. ... Do I think she can run a company? Absolutely not," one employee said. Haney declined to comment beyond a statement and her Instagram post in which she cited "an unsettling trend lately to interview ex-employees of female-founded companies and report their claims either at face value or without any context." BuzzFeed

- Not so subtle. In court filings in the U.S. Women's National Team's gender pay discrimination lawsuit, U.S. Soccer explicitly argues that "the job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player" and that "indisputable science" proves that being a men's player "requires a higher level of skill." "Well let it be known how they really feel about us. But here we are still showing up," player Ashlyn Harris wrote on TwitterBuzzFeed

- Get well, Hanks-Wilsons! Hollywood power couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson that they have coronavirus, becoming the highest profile celebrities to announce that they've tested positive. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Citigroup hired Banco Santander's Loretta Ko to head its financial institution group. The Adecco Group nominated Rachel Duan, president and CEO of GE's global markets, to its board. NEA promoted Liza Landsman to general partner. Levity Live hired Caruso's Amber Gainey Meade as VP of marketing. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Oil downturn for Occidental. Occidental Petroleum's deal to purchase Anadarko, brokered by Occidental chief Vicki Hollub, isn't looking good amid the crash in oil prices. Occidental is cutting quarterly dividends and cutting spending to reduce the debt it took on to close the Anadarko deal. Wall Street Journal

- The business of face-touching. How does the new coronavirus affect something many women use every day: makeup? Sales of hand cream are up, experts expect eye makeup trends to take off if more women start wearing masks covering the bottom halves of their faces, and direct-to-consumer companies like Glossier could be less affected than chains like Sephora with larger retail businesses. New York Times

- Diversity report. Sen. Kamala Harris reflected yesterday on the coverage of her presidential campaign. "If you don’t notice the shine in the little black girl’s eyes because you don’t look in their eyes, you’re not going to write about that," she told a group of black reporters, criticizing the lack of diversity in the campaign press corps. BuzzFeed

ON MY RADAR

Coronavirus could cause crash on scale of 2008, Lagarde warns Guardian

Biden should credit his victory in Michigan to women Washington Post

Why can't women win on the internet? Bustle

PARTING WORDS

"I want every girl on this planet to have the same opportunities that I’ve had."

-Michelle Obama in a Vogue interview