Silence Breaker Lauren Sivan on Weinstein Trial Charges: "There Are 100 or More of Us, But Only Two Crimes"

Reporter Lauren Sivan Outside Courtroom Jan 6th - Getty - H 2020
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

"Many women didn’t want to be a part of this legal case because in case he’s not convicted, he’ll head back to Hollywood," the reporter says of Weinstein, calling out the "infuriating" legal system that failed to prosecute the mogul for sexual misconduct in 2015 despite significant evidence. "And he seems like a guy who’s pretty angry with the people who got him here, so I'm sure he'll be looking for revenge."

A group of accusers, who call themselves the Silence Breakers, gathered Monday morning to represent the more than 90 women who came forward with reports of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein as they hosted a press conference on the first day of the embattled mogul's criminal trial in New York. 

One of the Silence Breakers is Lauren Sivan, the reporter who has said Weinstein exposed himself, masturbated and ejaculated into a nearby potted plant in 2007. During the presser — for which Weinstein accusers Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette, among others, also participated — Sivan said that she's "OK with being known as 'the potted plant girl' as long as he's forever known as the predator-rapist that he is."

Afterward, Sivan spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and other media outlets about the Silence Breakers' decision to speak out at the start of the trial, her thoughts on a potential exoneration and the retaliation she expects from Weinstein should he resume his career in Hollywood.

"Of course, [an exoneration is] a worry. Yeah, it's a worry. But it's also a reality. Look, the legal case is very narrow here. There are 100 or more of us, but there's only two crimes he's being charged with here in New York," said Sivan. "They're working on others. There will hopefully be more. But if there is an acquittal, hopefully we'll have another case. But hopefully he will not be able to go back to Hollywood and live life as normal."

Weinstein will stand trial in Manhattan before New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke beginning on Monday on charges of sexual assault. Three witnesses — The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, The Weinstein Co. production assistant Mimi Haleyi and an accuser yet to be identified — are set to testify.

If Weinstein walks away unscathed, Sivan said that she expects he will retaliate against his accusers in some way. She explained, "Many women didn't want to be a part of this legal case because in case he's not convicted, he'll head back to Hollywood. And he seems like a guy who's pretty angry with the people who got him here, so I'm sure he'll be looking for revenge."

In response to Weinstein's recent email interview with CNN, in which he said he hopes to rebuild his career and "help heal and comfort others," Sivan told THR that "it would be tremendously healing for all of us, for Hollywood in general, if he spent a long time in jail."

She continued, "That would be healing for all of us, I think. To know that he wants to go back to Hollywood and continue his career is terrifying, and that's one of the reasons many women didn't want to come forward."

In the fall, the Silence Breakers hired a publicist through Time’s Up to share for the trial, former Joe Biden spokesperson Kendra Barkoff Lamy at SKDKnickerbocker in Washington. Sivan said that Time's Up told the Silence Breakers that Weinstein would be doing interviews ahead of the trial and suggested that they combat his messaging by making their voices heard at the start.

"The folks at Time's Up really orchestrated this. They warned us that Weinstein was going to be doing a lot of press ahead of his trial and that we should probably prepare ourselves and show a united front here that this isn't just one woman who made up a story," said Sivan. "This is en masse. We all have very similar stories, by the way."

Of her relationship with McGowan, Arquette and her fellow Silence Breakers — who all wore red on Monday in solidarity to reclaim their power — Sivan said she "can't say enough wonderful things about them."

"They're all so strong, so smart and each so amazing in their own way. I've learned so much from them," she noted. "Hollywood's so cruel sometimes: 'She's crazy.' 'That one's crazy.' When you hear the stories of what some of these women have been through, there's a reason that they're guarded. There's a reason that they don't trust people. It's been awful for years and years and years. And I think, finally, they feel like people are listening to them."

Sivan also spoke about her trust in the DA's office after it was revealed that the New York Police Department failed to prosecute Weinstein after Italian model Ambra Battilana accused him of groping her during a business meeting in 2015. Even though the NYPD worked with Battilana to get Weinstein to acknowledge the incident in a recording, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., declined to press charges. According to The New York Times, Weinstein made a sizable payment to Battilana.

"It's infuriating," Sivan said. "I've spoken to a lot of members who tried back in 2015 and they were just as shocked that we were to learn the amount of evidence they had against him and that he sailed away. Look, we just have to put our faith in the justice system. We have to hope that they're doing their jobs. The whole world is watching now, so it would be really tough."