May 24, 2018 / 10:38 PM / a month ago

Hollywood women applaud impending Harvey Weinstein charges

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Women in Hollywood applauded on Thursday after Harvey Weinstein agreed to turn himself into authorities in New York after a months-long investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

FILE PHOTO: 71st Cannes Film Festival - Closing ceremony - Cannes, France May 19, 2018. Asia Argento delivers a speech. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

More than 70 women have accused the once-powerful film producer of sexual impropriety, including rape, since October 2017. Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

Weinstein was expected to surrender on Friday morning, a person familiar with the case said. The exact nature of the charges being brought against him by Manhattan prosecutors was unclear.

“BOOM”, tweeted Italian actress Asia Argento, who has accused Weinstein of raping her at the Cannes film festival in 1997 when she was 21.

Argento repeated her accusations in an emotional speech at the Cannes festival on Saturday.

Weinstein’s Italian attorney said on Saturday that Argento’s allegations were “completely false.” On Thursday in the United States, Weinstein’s spokesman Juda Engelmayer and Weinstein’s New York lawyer Benjamin Brafman both declined to comment.

Rose McGowan, who was among the first actresses to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, said his victims were “one step closer to justice.”

“I, and so many of Harvey Weinstein’s survivors, had given up hope that our rapist would be held accountable by law,” McGowan said in a statement. “May this give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.”

Former “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who has said she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in the 1990s, tweeted “Can’t Wait!” followed by “Anyone know where I can get front row seats?”

“A Wrinkle in Time” director Ava DuVernay, one of the leaders of the Time’s Up campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace, posted a link on Twitter to news of Weinstein’s expected surrender, adding “Karma NEVER loses an address.”

Tarana Burke, the founder of the wider #MeToo movement triggered by accusations against Weinstein, told Hollywood trade publication Variety that the expected charges represent a shift in the movement to change how sexual violence is handled.

“This moves from the court of public of opinion into an actual courtroom,” Burke told Variety in an interview. “That is super cathartic for a bunch of the survivors, or even survivors who are not necessarily victimized by him.”

Melissa Silverstein, founder of the blog Women and Hollywood, wrote on Twitter, “This is for all the women who stood up and spoke out and for those who endured years of pain who probably never thought this day would come.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine; editing by Grant McCool

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