Just hours after a New York judge shot down an attempt by Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers to have a sexual assault case against him dismissed, two of his most prominent accusers, actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, joined California lawmakers to celebrate the state’s new #MeToo bills, which go into effect this January.
In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace by ending the legal tactics used to silence victims.
“Seeing Harvey Weinstein being held criminally accountable for his deeds is, of course, encouraging but it’s not enough,” Arquette said. “The new laws that we are celebrating here today are an important step in the right direction. We can’t stop now.”
Sorvino, who like Arquette was one of the first women to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct last year, called it a “really sweet moment.”
“This is a day of celebration,” Sorvino told audience members at the event held at North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Library Thursday. “I’ve come to feel that awareness without actions is hollow,” Sorvino said.
Sorvino and Arquette were also joined by actress Chantal Cousineau, who last year was one of nearly 400 women who accused director James Toback of sexual misconduct.
On Thursday morning, a judge in New York City shot down an attempt by Weinstein’s lawyers to have a sexual assault case against him dismissed, clearing the way for prosecutors to try Weinstein.
Weinstein is accused of raping a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman at his Manhattan apartment in 2006. The pre-trial hearings will take place on March 7.
The two California Senate bills will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
Senate Bill 224 expands sexual harassment protections to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment by investors, elected officials, lobbyists, directors and producers. Senate Bill 1300 will fight sexual harassment in the workplace by closing loopholes in the law that allow employers to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination laws and leave employees vulnerable to sexual harassment at work.
“The #MeToo movement dramatically and forcefully helped lift the veil off a rampant culture of sexual harassment and assault that has pervaded our workplace for far too long,” Jackson said. “While we’ve made many strides, there is so much more to do.”
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.