Weinstein’s bizarre court accessories
HUNCHED over a walking frame, Harvey Weinstein looked every bit the frail, elderly man as he shuffled with assistance into a New York court for his rape trial, one day after the next.
But for many people who this week watched the disgraced film executive come and go from Manhattan's Supreme Court, their eyes have been repeatedly drawn to the bottom of the zimmer device - where two bright yellow tennis balls are attached to its legs.
It's a scene that has played out on multiple occasions since the disgraced film executive was charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing a sex act on another woman in the city in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Weinstein has also been accused of raping or sexually harassing company assistants and some of Hollywood's biggest stars but says any contact was consensual. The most serious charges against him carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The high-profile case opened on Monday in what could turn out to be the defining trial of an era. But with Weinstein now regularly wheeling himself out onto the world stage using his walker with custom-fit tennis balls, questions are being raised about the authenticity of his apparent ill health. According to his lawyers, Weinstein needs the walker as he recovers from recent back surgery.
However, sceptics claims the fallen mogul is deliberately trying to override any image of himself as a strong, powerful, gruff man and instead garner sympathy. Many noted that Weinstein could likely afford a decent walker and wouldn't need to resort to using tennis balls to replace worn down rubber on the legs.
One Twitter user posted: "It's like he's trying to look frail or something."
Another social media user noted that the walker looked "suspiciously cheap".
"Lightweight, yes. But wouldn't a mogul like him invest in the best?" she continued.
On Monday, Rose McGowan, 46, who accused Weinstein of raping her when she was 23 and later reached a $US100,000 ($A143,000) settlement with him, told reporters she believed he had "taken some good acting tips".
Harvey Weinstein borrowing one out of the Cosby playbook by acting as old and decrepit as possible. Wonder who cut the holes in those tennis balls? pic.twitter.com/F7sJ4URtAT— evan (@BigDaddy_Mex) January 7, 2020
Rosanna Arquette, 60, who says she went to a hotel to get a script from Weinstein in the 1990s when he answered the door in his dressing gown and pulled her hand towards his crotch, described him as "a very broken man".
"People feel sorry for rapists, especially in Hollywood," she said.
Harvey Weinstein got all that money and still showing up to court with his grandma’s walker with the tennis balls on it. This man is something else. 🎾 🤣 pic.twitter.com/u0BuX5ll2g— DAP/DOS TRIBE🇺🇸 (@Black_Action) January 6, 2020
Why does Weinstein need a walker and if he does someone as wealthy as him would have bought a nice one by now - what he’s using with the tennis balls is basically standard issue what your insurance would send you home with after an assessment.— Lena Moss (@lena_moss) January 6, 2020
It's not the usage. Actual tennis ball holders are an option for many manufacturers. Most people do cut a hole in tennis balls and put them on after the end caps scuff down to the rubber feet. But this is Harvey Weinstein not my Aunt Sally. Think about his budget for pajamas.— the chozen 1 (@blurr129) January 6, 2020
More than 80 women have accused the father-of-five of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Most of the accusers, who refer to themselves as "the Silence Breakers", aren't involved in his prosecution.
Television journalist Lauren Sivan alleged that more than a decade ago Weinstein cornered her in the hallway of a New York restaurant and proceeded to masturbate in front of her by a potted plant. Ms Sivan said if Weinstein was acquitted and rebuilt his career it would be "like a paedophile … go (ing) back to coaching little league".
"This is a dangerous predator," she told news.com.au.
"Even if he is acquitted in this trial, let's hope that he's never able to go back to what he was doing."
Weinstein's trial started on Monday as he was charged in Los Angeles with rape and sexual assault in relation to two separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.
The focus for the next two weeks in the New York case will be on jury selection before testimonies and evidence are presented to the court.
He faces five charges - one of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, two of predatory sexual assault and one each of rape in the first and third degree.
If convicted on charges of predatory sexual assault, the once-mighty mogul could be jailed for life.
The allegations against Weinstein, first exposed by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017, spawned his downfall and helped spark the #MeToo movement against powerful men who prey on women.