Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Say Everyone Had ‘Transactional Sex’ in Hollywood Before #MeToo 

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein’s defense told the jury that there is absolutely no evidence against their client and that every woman who will testify in his trial is an actress who will be playing a role on the stand — all to fit the narrative of #MeToo, which they characterized as an “asteroid” of a movement that “burst forth like a supernova” with Weinstein as the poster child. 

Weinstein’s attorney Mark Werksman told jurors that they should prepare to hear a “firehose of false and unprovable allegations” from women who agreed to have consensual sexual interactions with Weinstein, but years later, are now embarrassed and lying about what really happened.

Weinstein’s attorney told the jury that Hollywood has changed today, but back in the day, “transactional sex” was par for the course. “Sex was a commodity” for “rich and powerful men, like my client,” Weinstein’s attorney said, even getting its own nickname: the casting couch.

“Transactional sex … it may have been unpleasant … and now embarrassing,” Werksman said. “[But] everyone did it. He did it. They did it.”

Weinstein’s attorney said the #MeToo movement is like a movie that turned Weinstein into “Hollywood’s Chernobyl,” casting him in the “smoldering radioactive” part of the “bad guy.” 

And the women? “The sequel to the casting couch is the #MeToo trial,” Weinstein’s defense said. “They will play the part of the damsel in distress with this beast. They have to lie to themselves, to you, to this court,” Werksman told the jury. “Their hypocrisy will be on full display.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 18: First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom speaks at the 4th Annual Women’s March LA: Women Rising at Pershing Square on January 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

Weinstein’s attorney also noted that Weinstein was a big donor to the Democratic Party, and contributed money to Gavin Newsom throughout the years. He noted that in 2007, Weinstein had the couple as guests to one of his parties, during the time when Newsom was the mayor of San Francisco. “She brought her husband to meet and party with her rapist. Who does that?” Werksman said. “He took money from his wife’s rapist for his political campaigns.”Werksman said if Siebel Newsom didn’t have her current place in politics today, “She’d be just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead.”


Weinstein was convicted in 2020 on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts, and he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was granted an appeal by New York’s highest court in August.

The former film producer, who had been transferred to Los Angeles county jail to await the second trial, faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison if convicted of the additional charges. 

The grand jury charges are for four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery.

Variety and BBC