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After the New York Times and the New Yorker published investigations in October 2017 detailing decades of sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer effectively disappeared from the public eye. Months passed, and he stayed firmly underground. On Friday morning, Weinstein reemerged to turn himself in to New York City police on charges of rape and forced oral sex.
His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said that Weinstein will plead not guilty if indicted, the New York Times reports. After appearing in court on Friday, Weinstein surrendered his passport and was released on a $1 million bail. He can’t travel beyond New York and Connecticut and will be monitored electronically, according to CBS.
With hordes of photographers and reporters awaiting Weinstein’s arrival at the police station, the morning’s events were an opportunity for the producer, the allegations against whom became a driving force in the #MeToo movement, to reframe his image. Dressed in a white button-down, a light blue sweater, and a navy blazer, Weinstein projected a look of somewhat dad-like respectability — though if we’ve learned anything from Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, it’s that fatherly style can provide cloud cover for predatory behavior.
The sweater is a noticeably different look for Weinstein, who often appears in public wearing a dark suit jacket and a white shirt open at the neck. (He’s been sighted in a tie at more formal awards shows.) His usual color palette is white and black, which is why the choice of a baby blue sweater — such an innocent color; such a harmless, cuddly item — is so startling, especially on a sunny, 80-degree day in New York.
I once heard a lawyer say that he always put male clients on the stand in light-blue sweaters, because it makes them seem softer and more likable. pic.twitter.com/CFT2TW4Wbx— Elizabeth Holmes (@EHolmes) May 25, 2018
Indeed, in a drawing of Weinstein, the court’s sketch artist played up his sweater.
i get the feeling the sketch artist doesn't like him pic.twitter.com/4qbWBdObz0— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 25, 2018
Weinstein dressed up, but not that much: His sweater was rumpled, and he wore jeans. In his arms, he carried a few books, including copies of Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution by Todd S. Purdum and a biography of director Elia Kazan by Richard Schickel. Whether or not Weinstein had much time for reading on Friday morning, the message seemed to be that he just wanted to get back to work. That he was focused on moving forward.
Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s ex-wife and the designer of the evening wear brand Marchesa, began her own image rehab earlier in the month with a glamorously somber tell-all in Vogue. Though Chapman maintains that she was unaware of Weinstein’s behavior — the two separated shortly after the allegations against him came out — Marchesa got an undeniable boost from its ties to the producer. Actresses like Felicity Huffman and Jessica Chastain say that Weinstein pressured them to wear the brand’s dresses while promoting films he had produced.
Following Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s lead, Hollywood stylists like Ilaria Urbinati, who works with Tom Hiddleston and Donald Glover, have started airing their support for Chapman.
Of course, whatever image revamp Chapman has to conduct is worlds away from what Weinstein wants to accomplish. As a central player in the current conversation about high-profile men’s abuse of power, he’ll need more than a sweater and an armful of books to sway a jury.