By Jill Serjeant and Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Women in Hollywood expressed relief, hope and vindication on Friday as movie producer Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape after decades of alleged sexual misconduct.
Weinstein was met by dozens of photographers and camera crews as he walked into a New York City police station to be charged with two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act involving two unidentified women. He was later released on a $1 million cash bond.
Weinstein, 66, denies having nonconsensual sex with anyone, and his attorney said his client would plead not guilty.
Italian actress Asia Argento, one of more than 70 women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, live-tweeted his surrender.
“This is the only movie Harvey Weinstein will be remembered for #perpwalk,” Argento wrote. “Today Harvey Weinstein will take his first step on his inevitable descent to hell.”
Weinstein was charged after a seven-month investigation in New York and more than 20 years of alleged misconduct.
Actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her in 1997, said on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” program that she never believed this day would come.
“We got you, Harvey Weinstein, we got you,” McGowan later tweeted.
The accusations against the co-founder of the Miramax film studio helped give rise to the #MeToo movement, in which people shared stories of sexual abuse, and the Time’s Up campaign against workplace sexual harassment.
In a statement, the Time’s Up campaign welcomed the charges against “a man whose actions were so egregious that they spawned a global reckoning.”
“Boogie Nights” actress Heather Graham, who has spoken of unsettling encounters with Weinstein in the early 2000s, wrote on Twitter that, instead of focusing on him, she would be celebrating powerful women.
“This is just the beginning #TheFutureIsFemale,” Graham tweeted.
Among others weighing in: “Mighty Aphrodite” star Mira Sorvino, who tweeted “#Justice” next to a news report about Weinstein.
Louisette Geiss, another of Weinstein’s accusers, tweeted that it was about time. “Elated and so proud to stand next to the brave women & men who are creating a new normal.”
There was no immediate public reaction from other stars who have spoken of being harassed by Weinstein, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek.
New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor, who shared a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the Weinstein allegations, on Twitter listed the reactions she had heard from victims. They included tears of relief and irreparable loss, outright joy and nausea.
“The common denominator: trouble sleeping last night,” Kantor wrote.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey and Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)