Future of MeToo rests on Harvey Weinstein court verdict

Future of MeToo rests on Harvey Weinstein court verdict, by Miranda Devine.

For a man who once hobnobbed with the Clintons, is now a pariah in his hometown and facing life in prison for predatory sexual assault, rape and a criminal sexual act, Weinstein seemed unusually relaxed as the trial wore on.

Now comes the reckoning. On Wednesday, (Tuesday in New York), the jury goes out to consider its verdict.

The six-week trial has provided ample evidence that Weinstein is a grotesque pig lacking empathy for the many women he preyed upon, but it’s probably not enough to prove he should be convicted as a rapist. Prepare for an acquittal or a hung jury, because anyone who has heard the evidence thinks the prosecution has struggled to prove its case.

If Weinstein does walk, it will be a tragedy for his accusers, who at the very least were degraded by their association with him and have suffered in brutal courtroom cross examination.

But it will be a well overdue check on the power of the MeToo movement which was spawned by the Weinstein case, and which demands his guilt.

What started as a reasonable comeuppance for a powerful movie mogul who preyed on aspiring actors went too far when it mutated into a toxic feminist movement designed to demonise all men.

MeToo has become a tyranny of its own, a crusade to overturn a mythical patriarchy in which women have no agency or power.

It’s easy to condemn Weinstein, with his grotesque appearance, brutish behaviour and gross self-pity. But “in a criminal trial, proof matters,” Weinstein’s defence lawyer Donna Rotunna told the jury. “This is not a popularity contest.” …

This is “rape”? This is the prosecutions most persuasive case? Get outta here…

At least 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual predation and six have testified in this trial, but, in the end, this jury was told only to consider the accusations of two.

Jessica Mann, now 34, an aspiring actor from a dairy farm in Washington state, met Weinstein at a Hollywood party when she was 25 and testified that he raped her in 2013 in a Manhattan hotel.

Yet she continued a relationship with him for years afterwards, during which time she had consensual sex with him, attended Oscars parties as his guest and sent him hundreds of affectionate messages, some of which Rotunno read aloud to the court.

In the weeks after the alleged rape, Mann emailed Weinstein to thank him for arranging an audition for a vampire movie: “I appreciate all you do for me, it shows”.

“Miss you big guy,” she wrote six months later. …

And four years later, she wrote, “I love you, I always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call. ;)”

Rotunno read out another message in which Mann wrote she was “blowing a super-rich Hollywood producer”.

“This is not the way you would characterise your relationship with your rapist,” said Rotunno.

“She made a choice that she wanted the life that he could potentially provide for her”. …

Feminist power grab:

The prosecution case … relies on the “Believe all women” slogan at the centre of MeToo, which only disrupts healthy heterosexual interactions and places every man under suspicion of rape.

As Rotunna said in an interview before the trial, “Regret sex is not rape.”

Summing up the defence on Thursday, she described the prosecution case as an alternate universe in which, “women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the hotel room invitations, the plane tickets they expect, the jobs they hope to obtain”.

It is no favour to women to pretend they are not responsible for their own choices, including entering into a sexual relationship with a powerful older man who can do them favours in a competitive industry.

To equate those choices with rape is an obscene disservice to genuine victims.

Behaving badly, as Weinstein undoubtedly did, is not a crime — or at least it wasn’t in the traditional word that our civilization grew up on. But maybe in the brave new lefty world we appear to be entering, it will be. We await the trial outcome with interest.