Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Others React to Mixed Harvey Weinstein Verdict: ‘A Troubling Regression’

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said survivors “deserve better than what the system has given them”

Jennifer and Gavin Newsom
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 06: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom wave to supporters during election night event on November 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Newsom defeated Republican Gubernatorial candidate John Cox. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

As the verdict for Harvey Weinstein was mixed, so were the post-verdict reactions.

Los Angeles prosecutors scored a conviction on three counts, a result that should assure Weinstein will spend his remaining years in prison. But the victory was narrower than it appeared: Of the four women whose allegations were the foundation of criminal charges, only one – Jane Doe 1, a Russian-born actress and model – had her testimony vindicated by the jury Monday.

Her statement was unequivocal: “Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back,” Jane Doe 1 said after the verdict. “The criminal trial was brutal and Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to see this through to the end, and I did. I am thankful to the L.A. County prosecutors, including Paul Thompson, for believing in me and fighting so hard for all the victims, including me, in the trial. I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime.”

But the other three women who took the stand in the three-month trial – an aspiring actress (Jane Doe 2), a massage therapist (Jane Doe 3) and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom (Jane Doe 4) – saw their allegations end in a hung jury or acquittal.

In his post-verdict statement, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón acknowledged the empty half of the glass on Monday, saying he was “disappointed that the jury was split on some of the counts,” adding that the alleged victims “deserve better than what the system has given them.”

“I want to thank the survivors in this case, who exhibited extraordinary bravery in a case that put them in the national spotlight,” Gascón said. “Reporting sexual assault is never easy. Subjecting oneself to at times brutal cross-examination can be retraumatizing and extraordinarily painful. I stand in awe of their fearlessness.”

Siebel Newsom, who said she never anticipated testifying in a criminal trial when she reported her 2005 encounter with Weinstein after the #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017, endured a blistering cross-examination from defense attorneys who painted her as a “bimbo” who carried out an affair with Weinstein to advance her fledgling acting career.

Though her accusations ended up hanging the jury 8-4 in favor of a conviction, she kept her chin up Monday, maintaining that she was raped at her meeting with Weinstein:

“Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman,” Newsom said in a written statement. “He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and what he did was rape. Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny, and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean, and ridicule us survivors. This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do. To all survivors out there – I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you.”

Her husband, whom she met when he was still mayor of San Francisco, stood in support: “I am so incredibly proud of my wife and all the brave women who came forward to share their truth and uplift countless survivors who cannot,” the governor said. “Their strength, courage and conviction is a powerful example and inspiration to all of us. We must keep fighting to ensure that survivors are supported and that their voices are heard.”

Hollywood sexual abuse survivors’ advocacy groups also weighed in on Monday’s verdict, including the Hollywood Commission, formed in 2017 by board members Kathleen Kennedy and Nina Shaw and chaired by Anita Hill.

“The Weinstein verdict is a much-needed indication of our commitment to justice and individual accountability,” the commission said in a statement. “But it is only one case, despite its profile and significance. Real progress toward safer and more equitable workplaces requires acknowledging the institutional practices and industry culture that tolerate abuse, discrimination, harassment and bullying.”

Women in Film Los Angeles called the acquittal a “step backward,” and vowed to continue to support survivors.

“We hope that this verdict brings some closure to all who spoke up in court as accusers and witnesses, as well as his other victims,” WIF said in a statement. “The acquittal on remaining charges is the latest step backward in what’s become a troubling regression against efforts to combat a culture of harassment and misconduct in Hollywood. We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the survivors who have heroically come forward, and vow to continue to fight to create an industry that is free from abuse – where accountability extends beyond the criminal justice system.”

Though #MeToo has been going on for more than five years now, WIF said reported incidents of abuse continue to increase.

“Our work is far from done,” WIF said. “Over the last few months, calls to our Help Line have doubled and we are continuing to offer support and resources to anyone who has experienced harassment, abuse, or discrimination while working in the entertainment industry, regardless of gender.”