Five things that have changed in Hollywood since the Weinstein case broke

Ryan Faughnder and Stacy Perman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- Once known for Oscar winners like "Shakespeare in Love," disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein's most lasting legacy will surely be the rise of the #MeToo movement triggered by his downfall.

On Monday, a New York jury convicted Weinstein of two of five counts. Weinstein was found guilty of one count of rape and one count of committing a criminal sexual act, with each crime connected to an individual allegation made by Mimi Haley or Jessica Mann. He was acquitted on the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which each carried a potential life sentence.

More than two years after accusations of sexual harassment and assault ended Weinstein's career as a movie mogul, the ripple effects of the revelations continue in casting meetings, executive suites and writers rooms. Weinstein, who also faces charges in Los Angeles, denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The #MeToo movement, launched by Tarana Burke years before it became a rallying cry of hashtag activism, has ended or stalled the careers of powerful men, including actor Kevin Spacey, former CBS chief Leslie Moonves, TV host Charlie Rose, producer Brett Ratner and comedian Louis C.K. Industry organizations, including trade guilds, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and talent agencies have taken some tangible steps to address the dangers and discrimination women face in Hollywood. Groups like Time's Up have emerged to transform the energy of #MeToo into practical solutions.

Structural problems, such as Hollywood's persistent lack of women in positions of power and key creative roles, will take years to adequately address. Still, on top of the specific changes to industry practices, advocates say there's a strong sense that the underlying standards of behavior toward women in the industry have changed in significant ways, despite rumblings of backlash from people (mostly men) who say the movement has gone too far.

"The bottom line is, the tectonic plates of the industry have shifted completely," said Melissa Silverstein, publisher of Women and Hollywood. "There is always going to be this understanding that egregious things have happened across multiple parts of this industry and people can see that."


Here's what's changed.

New guidelines

The Weinstein allegations sparked much-needed reforms within Hollywood guilds and agencies -- institutions that are supposed to protect their members and clients from being taken advantage of, but instead were criticized for not doing enough to prevent abuse.

Over the last two years, unions and agencies have taken steps to curb practices that make women vulnerable to sexual harassment. Performers union SAG-AFTRA in 2018 called on producers and executives to refrain from requesting meetings in "high-risk locations" such as private homes and hotel rooms as part of a seven-page code of conduct. Talent representatives have increasingly cautioned clients against taking meetings in such places.


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