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Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein cases send a Time's Up message

Bill Cosby, convicted of sexual assault. ...

Posted: May 26, 2018 9:16 AM
Updated: May 26, 2018 9:16 AM

Bill Cosby, convicted of sexual assault. Harvey Weinstein, arrested and charged with rape and sex abuse.

For many in Hollywood, this is a time they could have scarcely imagined. And while the two cases are distinct and separate, the symbolism of these events coming roughly a month apart, less than eight months after allegations against Weinstein went public, is difficult to ignore.

Powerful men in the media have seemingly existed inside a protective cocoon. Even as the #MeToo movement gained momentum, it seemed unlikely that someone like Cosby or Weinstein would face jeopardy from the justice system.

Related: The long fall of Harvey Weinstein

Too many allegations lost to the statute of limitations. Too many resources for legal defense teams. And in many cases, too much "celebrity justice," an "X" factor that has seen famous men acquitted in the past on charges that have included rape and murder.

O.J. Simpson and actor Robert Blake were acquitted in high-profile murder trials, a decade apart. Music producer Phil Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2009, but only after a mistrial on those charges two years earlier.

Those cases bred understandable cynicism about the justice system. Even as the roster of names mounted with accusations against Cosby, the prospect of serious ramifications appeared doubtful after a first mistrial in that case.

Those disheartened by that perceived reality could theoretically derive satisfaction from seeing these high-profile figures relegated to pariah status. Separating them from the adulation they enjoyed, the power that they wielded, was its own kind of sentence.

But their wealth and privilege remained. The phone might stop ringing from powerful pals, but they would still live out their days in luxury.

Related: Bill Cosby: A big legacy, forever tarnished

In the last month, that perception has been shaken. The verdict against Cosby, especially, served notice that all the advantages the comedian enjoyed -- including a public that didn't want to believe the worst about him -- could no longer be counted upon to inoculate him against being held accountable.

Suddenly, that protective shell has cracks in it.

Given the role that reporting about Weinstein played in the torrent of allegations unleashed since October, seeing him undergo a perp walk on Friday had plenty of significance. As actress, activist and alleged victim Rose McGowan said on "Good Morning America," "'I have a visceral need for him to have handcuffs on."

The array of cases that have been lumped together under the broad heading of "sexual misconduct" aren't perfectly analogous. On Friday, Weinstein attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement, "Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior with anyone. Nothing about today's proceedings changes Mr. Weinstein's position. He has entered a plea of Not Guilty and fully expects to be exonerated."

In regard to Weinstein, moreover, the light of celebrity actually resided with many of his accusers, commanding attention that has often eluded victims in the past.

The Weinstein case now enters a new stage. As symbols go, though, his arrest represented a moment -- and a message -- that seemingly marks another step from #MeToo toward Time's Up.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
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Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
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Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
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Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
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Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
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Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
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Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
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Coosa180240
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