First conviction in #MeToo era a 'watershed moment'
April 27, 2018
Marie Szaniszlo - Boston Herald
HUSH MONEY: Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harrassment and paid off accusers with large financial settlements/ Critics argue that this type of agreement could foster future harassment.
Billy Cosby's spectacular, late-in-life downfall as a comedian and TV superstar known as "America's Dad" was just the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.
During closing arguments, Cosby's lawyers slammed the movement against sexual misconduct, calling him its victim and comparing it to a witch hunt or a lynching.
But Debra J. Robbin, executive director of Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, said the TV superstar's conviction yesterday and the #MeToo movement show that society has reached a "watershed moment."
"These survivors are being heard and believed," Robbin said. "Today's conviction moves the needle forward in understanding how critical their voices are. ...When someone is as iconic as Bill Cosby, we experience them as some combination of the part they place and how we see them in the public realm. But that doesn't tell the whole story of who someone is. We see that with other people who are being accused."
Other celebrities are also being investigated by police.
Last November, former Channel 5 anchor Heather Unruh accused now-banished "House of Cards" actor Kevin Spacey of sexually assaulting her teenage son on Nantucket. Unruh's son filed a report with Nantucket police in October. That investigation is ongoing.
Spacey's career has been in a freefall, and he announced last year that he was seeking treatment after actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey made an awkward sexual advance toward him during a party at Spacey's home in the 1980s, when Spacey was 26 and Rapp was 14. Spacey is also facing criminal investigation in the U.K.
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is also under criminal investigation in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and London but has not been charged. Since last fall, scores of women, including famous actresses, have accused him of sexual harrassment, assault and rape. He was fired from the production company he started with his brother. The business recently filed for bankruptcy.
Weinstein has not been charged criminally and denies any nonconsensual sex.