Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer accused of numerous incidents of sexual assault and misconduct, turned himself into authorities on Friday after facing charges of of first- and third-degree rape and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree. The news was met with an outpouring of emotion from women who had spoken out against Weinstein in the past—and on Saturday, actress and Weinstein accuser Ashley Judd penned a powerful op-ed for Time about what his arrest means for the future of #MeToo.
“When the news broke that Harvey Weinstein would be surrendering himself on rape and sexual assault charges, I didn’t have a reaction,” she wrote. “As I spoke with others for whom the ground was shaking I realized my feeling was that a sexual predator being legally accountable for criminal behavior is and should be normal, routine and not particularly newsworthy. And I also understood why it is thunderous news.”
Judd continued by writing that Weinstein’s arrest—his turning-in of himself—marked a significant turning point in how society and the criminal justice system addresses the alleged crimes of powerful men, who have often used their own power to make themselves immune to consequences.
“And in this moment, in this era, that a powerful man who thrived and flourished in a culture of impunity was arrested and charged is resoundingly significant. It is a watershed event, an irreversible pivot away from tacit and explicit license to exploit to a ground of firmer boundaries and clarity about intolerable behavior no longer being tolerated,” she wrote.
Still, she expressed disappointment about Weinstein’s own approach to the charges: He had an opportunity to take accountability for his years of allegedly damaging and hurting women but has instead chosen to plead not guilty.
“I was hopeful Harvey would plead guilty, that his surrender was volitional, so that in addition to carving out a singular position of disgrace, he could come forward as the predator who walks out of shame onto a new path of humility, introspection, accountability and amends, thereby leading our men and country in the necessary and inexorable trajectory of restorative justice,” she wrote. “It seems that Harvey, though, will not be the person to do that, as he is pleading not guilty and still maintains, in the face of so many accusations, that all sex was consensual. Denial can stand for ‘I don’t even know I am lying,’ and it appears that is where Harvey still lives.”
Judd ended her piece saying that the movement will have to continue waiting for an “accused who can and will embody what the #MeToo movement and our society needs and wants: someone who can navigate the duality of having aggressed and address their abuse of power with culpability and integrity.”
She concluded that “restorative justice is also dual; in order for survivor-victims and society to embrace and restore the reformed, the reformed must have been genuinely transformed, shedding layers of toxic masculinity, exiting the denial/apology tour and standing in a new and collective space where both the person is and the narrative are made whole and unified.”
Where #MeToo goes from here, as those accused begin to plan their comebacks, is a critical question that powerful figures in the movement are beginning to address. For more, read how #MeToo founder Tarana Burke outlines the next steps for the movement—and lays out how you can participate.