The #MeToo movement has sent Hollywood figures into exile, but not to jail.
Hollywood figures losing jobs but not facing legal troubles
LOS ANGELES — The #MeToo movement has sent dozens of once-powerful Hollywood players into exile, but few of them have been placed in handcuffs or jail cells. And it’s increasingly apparent that the lack of criminal charges may remain the norm.
Harvey Weinstein has been charged with sexual assault in New York, and Bill Cosby was sent to prison in Pennsylvania in the year since stories on Weinstein in The New York Times and The New Yorker set off waves of revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. But those two central figures are exceptions.
A task force launched in November by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to handle the surge in allegations against entertainment figures has taken up criminal cases involving nearly two dozen entertainment-industry figures. None has been charged.
The lack of prosecutions stems from a clash between the #MeToo ethos, which encourages victims to come forward years or even decades after abuse and harassment that they’ve kept private, and a legal system that demands fast reporting of crimes and hard evidence.
The task force has considered charges against 22 suspects, including Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, director James Toback and former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, all of whom have denied engaging in any sex that was not consensual.
Charges have already been rejected for most.
In 14 of the closed cases, charges were declined because the allegations were reported too late and thus outside the statute of limitations. The rest were turned down either for insufficient evidence or because the accuser refused to cooperate with investigators after initially reporting the incidents.
Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, which oversees the Time’s Up legal defense fund, said for some “the act of reporting, putting it on the record is critical, even if they’re beyond the limitations.”