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Mariska Hargitay addresses Harvey Weinstein’s overturned conviction in powerful speech about the power of women’s voices

<i>Greg Allen/Invision/AP via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Mariska Hargitay at the Variety Power of Women: New York event on Thursday.
Greg Allen/Invision/AP via CNN Newsource
Mariska Hargitay at the Variety Power of Women: New York event on Thursday.

By Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) — Actress and activist Mariska Hargitay is weighing in on the New York Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn once-powerful Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes conviction.

On Thursday, Hargitay accepted an honor at Variety’s Power of Women event in New York for her work as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and took a moment during her speech to acknowledge “the reason” why she felt Weinstein’s conviction was overturned.

“Too many women’s voices. Too many women’s voices were allowed to speak,” she said, according to a clip of her speech. “Can’t imagine anything more beautiful than that.”

She continued, “Too many women speaking brings change. Too many women speaking shakes the establishment. Too many women means we get listened to more, people might actually hear what we have to say.”

Garnering applause and cheers from the audience, Hargitay spoke about how the #MeToo movement is an example of the “tidal wave of change” that can happen when women simply say two words: “Me too.”

She also acknowledged the “backlash” that came in response to the #MeToo movement, saying, “of course there’s a backlash! What did they expect? For women to speak repeatedly, loudly, together, with a purpose, for there to be no backlash?”

“The backlash,” she said, “is evidence of how powerful those voices were. How powerful those voices are.”

Last week, the New York Court of Appeals overturned Weinstein’s 2020 conviction of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

The former film producer has maintained his innocence and denied any non-consensual sexual activity.

In its ruling, the court said the testimony of “prior bad acts” witnesses should not have been allowed because it “was unnecessary to establish defendant’s intent and served only to establish defendant’s propensity to commit the crimes charged.”

On Wednesday, prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told the court that they will retry the sex crimes case, and the judge ordered Weinstein to remain in custody ahead of his retrial. The next hearing in the matter is set for May 29.

Hargitay has previously written about her own experience as a survivor of rape and is an active advocate in spreading awareness and providing support for survivors of sexual violence through her Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that she founded in 2004.

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