‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ star Mariska Hargitay blasts Harvey Weinstein’s overturned conviction

Mariska Hargitay is speaking out for a cause close to her heart.

The actress rose to fame by playing the role of Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” a division dedicated to solving sex crimes. The show premiered in 1999, and since then Hargitay has been advocating for sexual assault victims — the most recent example of this is her scathing remarks on Harvey Weinstein.

A photo of Mariska Hargitay

On Thursday, Hargitay attended Variety’s Power of Women event. She was honored for her advocacy work, and while she spoke, she touched on the recent news of Weinstein’s conviction being overturned.

“I want to talk today about reversing convictions,” she began, per Variety. “It’s impossible to reverse my conviction that survivors matter, that what happened to us matters, and that our society must respond to survivors more compassionately, more holistically, with a deeper, more nuanced understanding of what healing means.”

Later in her speech, she said, “I do want to say something about the overturned Harvey Weinstein conviction. Specifically about the reason it was overturned: Too many women’s voices. Too many women were allowed to speak.”

She continued, “Risky to let women speak? You’re damn right it is. Too many women speaking brings change.”

A photo of Mariska Hargitay and Harvey Weinstein

In April, the New York appeals court found that Weinstein’s trial judge allowed prosecutors to call women who said Weinstein had assaulted them to testify, even though their accusations did not specifically relate to the entertainment mogul’s charges.

Weinstein, who was a very successful film producer before the allegations began, was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted in February 2020 of forcing oral sex on TV and film production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006 and third-degree rape of hairstylist Jessica Mann in 2013.

He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault after actor Annabella Sciorra’s allegations of rape in the 1990s. He has denied ever engaging in non-consensual sex.

Even though the New York appeals court overturned Weinstein’s conviction, that does not mean he is getting out of prison.

Harvey Weinstein in court

After Weinstein’s sentencing in New York in 2020, he was extradited to California in July 2021 to face sexual assault allegations made by four women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013.

In December 2022, he was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation and another sexual misconduct count involving a woman known as Jane Doe 1. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in February 2023. Weinstein’s legal team has vowed to appeal that conviction as well.

Weinstein also faces charges in London for two alleged offenses in 1996.

Meanwhile, Hargitay has been pushing for the rights of sexual assault survivors for years, founding the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004. According to the organization’s website, their mission is to “transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.”

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