Actress and Activist Jessica Barth Urges ‘Kindness in the Press’ for Harvey Weinstein Trial Witnesses

“They really are changing our culture, no matter what the outcome is,” co-founder of Voices in Action tells TheWrap

Jessica Barth, BE Conference
Photographed by Justin Bettman for TheWrap

Actress Jessica Barth, co-founder of Voices in Action, says the women who will testify against Harvey Weinstein in his criminal trial should be seen as heroes, and treated with “kindness” by the media.

“What they’re doing is heroic,” Barth told TheWrap. “They really are changing our culture, no matter what the outcome is.”

At least six women, including actress Annabella Sciorra and former Weinstein production assistant Mimi Haleyi, are expected to testify in the coming weeks. While the trial hinges on the accounts of Haleyi and a still-unnamed woman, testimony from other witnesses like Sciorra are likely to help the prosecution make the case that Weinstein engaged in predatory sexual assault.

But when these witnesses testify on the stand, they will face rigorous cross-examination from Weinstein’s defense team, which has said it will use evidence to prove that the relationships were consensual. Barth, who co-founded Voices in Action in 2019 and has accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, said it was important to also keep in mind what these women may be experiencing on the stand as their credibility is being questioned.

“It’s easy to read these stories in the headlines and then … get desensitized to it, but these women are having to relive their trauma,” Barth said. “They’re going to have to take the stand and face him and see him — see the person that actually assaulted and raped them and tell their story. That in itself is the most courageous thing that I can even think of.”

“They deserve kindness in the press, they deserve kindness in the courtroom, and I hope they get it,” she added. “They have my utmost respect.”

Opening statements begin on Wednesday morning. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five felony counts, including for predatory sexual assault and first- and third-degree rape.