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Will the Harvey Weinstein verdict usher in a new era in Hollywood?

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The Harvey Weinstein sex-crimes split verdict – guilty of rape and sexual assault, not guilty of the most serious predatory charges – raises immediate questions about what effect it will have on the #MeToo movement, on Hollywood and the entertainment industry, in particular, and on the prosecution of sex crimes in general across the United States.

Will Hollywood’s peculiar ways of conducting business really change for the better? Will more celebrity #MeToo cases be brought to criminal court (so far, Weinstein’s is the only one)? And will rape and sexual assault cases become easier to prosecute, even if they’re decades old?  

The reaction from various activists, lawyers, Hollywood insiders and survivors of sexual violence was as mixed as the verdict itself but one theme resounded:

It’s a new era and there’s no going back to the old era

“It’s no longer business as usual in the United States,” said Gloria Allred, the women’s rights attorney who represents three of the Weinstein accusers at the trial, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse after the verdict. “This is the age of empowerment for women.”

And there’s more to come, Allred said, reminding that Weinstein faces four similar sex-crime charges in Los Angeles County. Allred represents one of the complaining witnesses in the Los Angeles Countycase, Lauren Young, who testified at the New York trial as a “prior bad acts” witness. Young says Weinstein trapped her in a bathroom in a Beverly Hills hotel room and groped her in 2013.

“Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back,” declared Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the Time’s Up Foundation, formed in Hollywood in the wake of Weinstein’s fall from his commanding perch as a movie mogul.

“This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., at a press conference after the verdict. “This is a new day.” 

Exultation reigns after verdict

Mostly on Monday, there was exultation that Weinstein, who was feared and loathed in Hollywood even before his shattering fall, would face at least some consequences for crimes.

The trial ushers in a “new era of justice” for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work, said Tchen.

“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made,” Tchen said in a statement. “While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broken system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues.”

Will Hollywood change post-Harvey Weinstein?  

“The casting couch is definitely done, finally,” Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief of HollywoodLife.com, told USA TODAY. “If there was any doubt in any person of power in Hollywood that they could go back to ‘bad business as usual’ this is a very clear message that not only could they face accusations but they could also face jail time.”

When the Los Angeles County trial opens, it will mesmerize Hollywood, Fuller predicted. “They will be following it extremely closely, because it’s right in their backyards. If there’s another conviction, it’s more confirmation that the world has changed.”

Women in Film Los Angeles, a Hollywood group formed to fight for equity in entertainment industries, believes the verdict will help its cause. 

“I think it sends a really clear message that the behavior is not going to be tolerated,” executive director Kirsten Schaffer told USA TODAY, describing widespread relief Weinstein was not entirely acquitted.

The mood of the women she’s talking to: “Relieved. Proud. Emotional. I got super emotional hearing the news this morning. Hopeful. And also knowing that we still have work to doon the equity front, particularly around women in positions of power and decision-making positions and pay parity.”

Day to day, she said, it means women and bystanders are more likely to speak up. Also, she said, a lot of people in the industry knew about Harvey Weinstein and were in a position to do something but didn’t.

“I think that – that’s the biggest thing that has been and will continue to change,” Schaffer said. “Gone are the days of human-resources coverups. At least I hope so.” 

‘This is how Harvey Weinstein will be remembered’

Rob Shuter, a former Hollywood publicist and now the host of “The Naughty But Nice With Rob Shuter” podcast on iHeartRadio, told USA TODAY he doesn’t anticipate noticeable change in Hollywood. 

“I hate to say it, but Hollywood has existed the way it has for many, many years and although this is certainly an explosion it’s going to take more than one very powerful individual to change an entire system,” Shuter said. “I would love to think that people who have abused their power in Hollywood would now think twice.

“But my experience is Hollywood is like Weinstein – the arrogance and entitlement of people is so large I don’t know if this is going to change everything. What will change is now more people will speak out. In the past, victims were more likely to remain silent.”

Still, he said, his phone has been “blowing up” with calls from people who knew or worked with Weinstein. “There’s almost no aspect of this industry he hasn’t been part of. People are shocked to see this. I don’t think anybody really believed it would happen. This is somebody who just several years ago was running the film business.” 

Now, Shuter said, this will be the first sentence of his obituary. “This is how he will be remembered. Not for some of the great films or the great work he’s done,” Shuter said. “This will be the first thing people (in Hollywood) talk about when they talk about him.”

Some are disappointed Harvey Weinstein wasn’t guilty on all counts

There was some dismay that Weinstein will not face the stiffest sentence possible given that he was acquitted of the two most serious charges, predatory sexual assault. 

“While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator,” said a group of two dozen Weinstein accusers, including Hollywood stars, who call themselves the “Silence Breakers.” 

“This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers. Their bravery will forever be remembered in history.”

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Lara Yeretsian said the acquittal on the two most serious charges is “huge” because he can’t be retried on those.

“The verdict is like splitting the baby,” Yeretsian said in a statement. “The jurors thought that what Weinstein did was horrible, but not horrible enough that he should be sent away for life…The bottom line is that this jury wasn’t going to acquit him given the publicity on this case… If the jury convicted him as a vindication of #MeToo rather than based on the evidence, this could also be grounds for appeal.”

‘This is why we say Me Too’

Another theme of the reaction was continuing frustration with the legal system and the state of the laws on sex crimes. Tarana Burke, the woman who created the #MeToo hashtag and helped found the movement jump-started by media revelations about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct in October 2017, said in a statement that #MeToo isn’t just about the Hollywood stars accusing him, it’s about all of the women who have to deal with the possibility of sexual violence derailing their lives.

“This jury worked with an incredibly narrow and unjust set of laws governing sexual assault, and though he was not convicted on all counts, Harvey Weinstein will have to answer for his crimes,” said Burke. “This case reminds us that sexual violence thrives on unchecked power and privilege. The implications reverberate far beyond Hollywood and into the daily lives of all of us in the rest of the world. 

“And though today a man has been found guilty, we have to wonder whether anyone will care about the rest of us tomorrow. This is why we say MeToo.”

Heidi Reavis, a New York lawyer whose firm, Reavis Page Jump, deals with sexual harassment cases, echoed Burke’s point. What about all the sex-crimes cases that don’t involve celebrities?

“The real challenge is how we as a society do a better job supporting victims of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination so women can live without fear of reprisal for speaking out, and how we do a better job preventing these assaults from happening in the first place,” Reavis said.  

Will defense attorneys be reined in?

There was criticism of the aggressive defense of Weinstein by his attorney Donna Rotunno, although that is the job of a defense attorney. 

The Weinstein verdict suggests it will no longer be “acceptable in courts for anyone to argue that women who were victimized by sexual predators brought it on themselves because they wanted to advance in their careers,” said Debra Katz, a Los Angeles lawyer who specializes in sexual harassment cases and was in the courtroom for the verdict.

“Because arguments of the type by Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers are intended to silence women and scare women, and it’s unacceptable. And today, the jury put an exclamation point on that,” Katz said.

But restricting defense attorneys from challenging or aggressive cross-examination of witnesses would undermine the fair functioning of the system, says criminal defense attorney and sexual assault victim Karen Stefano.

“Defense attorneys will always will be able to, and must be able to, aggressively cross-examine witnesses,” she said. “The Constitution, our whole system of justice, requires it.”

Praise for brave accusers and hope for victims 

There was hope that women will see the trial result as a signal they will be believed if they come forward. They might even be encouraged to come forward as soon as possible instead of waiting until decades have passed.

“We hope that survivors everywhere will feel encouraged to come forward knowing that juries – and society – will believe them,”  said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s leading anti-sexual violence organization.

Vance said he wasn’t “dissatisfied” with the verdict even though Weinstein escaped the most serious charges and the stiffest sentence. Vance has been under pressure from activists in New York since 2015 when his office declined to prosecute Weinstein on a groping allegation because there wasn’t enough evidence. 

Vance assigned most of the credit for the verdict to the accusers at the trial, whom he described as “heroic.”

“They were heard by Weinstein’s other survivors and by sexual predators all over the world,” Vance said. “You broke your silence to hold him accountable, and believe me when I say that because you have done so, a generation of sexual assault survivors – and all of us – heard your every word.”

What are some lessons learned?

There was widespread acclaim for the six women who testified as accusers against Weinstein, especially for the two complaining witnesses, Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi and Jessica Mann, he was convicted of raping and assaulting. Mann, especially, was challenged on the witness stand because she testified that she maintained a consensual sexual relationship with Weinstein for years after he raped her in a New York hotel room in 2013. 

“One of the big-picture lessons from the Weinstein case is that no matter how challenging these sexual offense cases may be, as long as there are credible witnesses whose stories need to be told, prosecutors should present the cases to a grand jury for review and indictment,” said Lisa Linsky, a defense attorney and former New York prosecutor who handled sex-crimes cases.

“The fact that a sexual assault survivor knew or was in a relationship with the person who abused her, is no reason to forego prosecution.” 

Cheryl Bader, a former assistant U.S. attorney who now teaches a criminal defense clinic at Fordham Law School in New York, says the verdict could encourage prosecutors “not to shy away from cases with ‘messy’ victims who carry ‘baggage’ that might make convictions more challenging.

“Also, the verdict shows that jurors did not fall prey to conventional rape myths, like ‘real rape’ is a knife-wielding stranger that jumps out from an alley and that no victim would continue to have willing contact with their rapist,” Bader said. 

Stefano says the significance of the verdict is that the accusers were believed despite the lack of police testimony and the lack of physical and forensic evidence and despite the passage of time. In a he-said-they-said case, they were believed. 

“It was simply their testimony. And that was enough. And that’s never been enough before,” Stefano told USA TODAY. “I absolutely believe this verdict will encourage women to come forward. Seeing other women being believed gives other victims hope. And I was a victim who called 911 literally seconds after my sexual assault and I still wasn’t believed.” 

The Weinstein verdict shows that “rape is rape,” Vance declared, whether it’s committed by a stranger or by an intimate partner in a relationship, whether the assailant is rich or poor, powerful or a nobody.

“Rape is rape whether the survivor reports it within the next hour, within a year, or never at all,” Vance said. “It’s rape, despite the complicated dynamics of power and consent after an assault. It’s rape even if there is no physical evidence. Even if it happened a long time ago.”

Bader says the jury had to figure out the meaning of complex legal issues such as “forcible compulsion,” “lesser included offenses,” “reasonable doubt” and what constitutes consent.

“Consent has long been a gray area in rape prosecution,” Bader said. “Although it will continue to remain gray, this case has moved that gray a shade or two lighter.”

Cindy Kanusher, director of Pace Women’s Justice Center in New York, said men like Weinstein have abused and assaulted women without fear of consequences for too long.

“His guilty verdict represents a watershed moment for women and all victims of sexual abuse; it sends the critical message that victims who come forward will be heard, believed and supported as they reach out for help and seek justice,” Kanusher said in a statement.

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Ted Baker names Osborne permanent CEO

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Ted Baker has finally found its new CEO with Rachel Osborne taking on the role permanently after several months as caretaker chief executive. 

Ted Baker

And they’ve certainly been a rollercoaster few months for the executive who only joined the company in November in the role of chief financial officer. She was catapulted into the vacant CEO’s chair just a month later and clearly is seen as having done a good job since then. 

Osborne has more than 20 years of relevant brand and retail sector experience and was previously at Debenhams where she had been CFO. She also held the same role at Domino’s Pizza Group, was finance director of group enterprise at Vodafone and finance & strategy director at John Lewis. She had previously also worked at Sodexo, Kingfisher and PepsiCo.

In recent months she’s been leading a significant period of change and transformation, including developing key strategic priorities for the firm’s hoped-for turnaround and the announcement of the sale and leaseback of the company’s headquarters at a significant premium to its book value. And, of course, she’s also been leading the firm during the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19.

Acting chair Sharon Bailey is continuing in her role for now and the firm is still seeking a permanent chair, although on Monday it said the search is progressing well”.

Baylay said of Osborne: “Following a thorough and competitive search process, the board is delighted that Rachel is being appointed as chief executive. Rachel has already made a significant contribution to Ted Baker, working tirelessly in recent months to develop a transformation plan for the business. She has brought hugely relevant retail and customer experience and is ideally positioned to lead Ted Baker’s turnaround in the future.”

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L’Oréal USA launches domestic Covid-19 relief efforts

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L’Oréal USA has launched several new initiatives to support Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

L’Oréal

In a statement, the company said it will donate $250,000 to Feeding America, a nonprofit dedicated to hunger relief, to support the organization’s Covid-19 Response Fund. The donation comes as an extension of the company’s giving campaign in which the American arm of the beauty company will match additional employee donations dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000.

Like LVMH and Coty, L’Oréal has also made the choice to support healthcare workers fighting the Covid-19 outbreak by beginning the production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer at its North American manufacturing facilities, starting this week. The sanitizer will then be distributed to medical staff, as well as the company’s U.S. employees and partners, free of charge.

In addition, L’Oréal USA will donate protective masks from its operations facilities in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Franklin, New Jersey, to local hospital systems in each surrounding community.

The company will further donate a supply of personal care products valued at more than $1 million, including cleansers and moisturizers, to the Covid-19 relief efforts of Feed the Children, a nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger

To help its small-scale partners, L’Oréal USA said it will freeze the payments of very small and small-sized enterprises in its distribution network, including hair salons, until their businesses resume. The company will also shorten its payment times for small suppliers who have been hit by the virus’s economic impact.

“I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say that we at L’Oréal USA feel a deep responsibility to do our part to help address this crisis in the many communities in which we live and work,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, president and CEO of L’Oréal USA, and executive vice president, North America.

“We stand in solidarity with the brave people who are tirelessly and selflessly working to end this pandemic, and it is our hope that, through these actions, we are able to provide some relief during this challenging time.” 

These new commitments come after the launch of L’Oréal’s Europe-wide Coronavirus Solidarity Program last week.

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Even Notorious Homebody Kylie Jenner Seems Bored AF Amid Long Coronavirus Quarantine!

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Don’t get us wrong — the self-isolation and social distancing practices we are going through right now are ABSOLUTELY the right thing to do with this pandemic, without question.

But the quarantine life has even the most content-heavy family among us — the Kardashian clan — grasping at straws right now with so many businesses and places shut down to fight the pandemic.

Related: Kylie Recalls Her Brutal 2019 Sickness And Hospitalization

Notorious homebody Kylie Jenner released a brand new video on her YouTube channel this weekend, which you can watch (above). In the new vid, which trended on the video-sharing platform all weekend long, she and three pals — Stassie Karanikolaou, Victoria Villarroel, and Yris Palmer — open up about which one of them is the most likely to do a variety of different things.

You can see it all go down (above), and it’s fine for a behind-the-scenes look into the makeup mogul’s life and all that — especially when it comes to learning about how best pal Stassie is a little bit of a wild child! Still… it pales in comparison to the actual physical fight that aired on KUWTK this week. Will all KarJenner content for the rest of this quarantine be downhill from that incredible moment?! Whatever is there to look forward to from here coming from the great city of Calabasas?? Woe is us! LOLz!

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