The Truth About Harvey Weinstein’s Walker

Whether he needs assistance or not, the image can influence jurors and reinforce harmful stereotypes of people with disabilities.

Comments: 175

  1. Was his “back surgery” spinal-fusion surgery with multi-level hardware, which certainly justifies a walker? If it was, the way he is pictured using the walker is not helpful to proper healing and strengthening and recovery. Ask a Physical Therapist or MD Physiologist, or former back patient. Anyone who knows would be all over Weinstein to straighten up, engage his back erector muscles, shoulders back, pelvis under shoulder, and use his arms under him instead of leaning on air out front. If he’s using walker for sympathy, he would move just as he seems to in the photos. If he wants a good surgical result, that position insures the opposite. Big tell.

  2. @MomMac Then, if he testifies in his own defense, he can be asked about his physical therapist's instructions as another way to undermine his credibility.

  3. Irrelevant. The judge won’t allow a question like that because it violates HIPAA and is not material evidence to the issue on trial.

  4. @MomMac And not properly adjusted to his height - so he can hunch over it! And the cheapest model on the market, with tennis ball feet in some pictures! We all wish he had had a few back problems earlier in his life - it might have prevented some of the abuse he has inflicted.

  5. I hope the jury will be judging him on his past actions, not what his present or future may be.

  6. My husband had a major spinal fusion five years ago, after he had gotten to the point where he could walk or stand for five minutes only. He used a walker for one day, the day after the all day-long surgery. One day. Mr. Weinstein and his lawyers are not to be trusted. Weinstein's Walker is theater. He is using it for sympathy, hoping it will affect the outcome of his trial. I am not fooled by Weinstein's Walker and nor should you be.

  7. I used a walker for 2 weeks after my spine surgery. After that I was on my own two feet. He’s full of it.

  8. @insomnia data Weinstein's background is in show business, so it makes perfect sense that he's engaging in these theatrics...

  9. I think it is no more than a prop - sometime last week on CNN int'l he was viewed coming down the courthouse steps - he picked up the walker, came down the steps holding it up than promptly resumed his pitying posture. After all, he is another "showman".

  10. @seanseamour As the picture in the editorial shows, Weinstein used the rail to help himself down the stairs while someone else carried the walker. He's a monster, but fabricating stories about his alleged lack of disability just strengthens his case that the trial is a witch hunt.

  11. @seanseamour How frail was he in the past decades he committed his heinous crimes.?

  12. Hopefully, the jury is like me and doesn't care whether he can walk well now. They care what happened THEN.

  13. @Jenna - Exactly!

  14. @Jenna If I were a juror, I’d feel insulted, actually, that he imagined we jurors were so stupid that we wouldn’t see the effort to manipulate us. For me it would simply show what a manipulator he is! And help me to believe his victims all the more.

  15. Cynic that I am, I believe fully, and would as a juror, that Weinstein's team is manipulating the jury with optics. I cannot imagine Weinstein arriving to his power job with a walker - he'd have a cane at most, to keep his strong, male image in the forefront. His team wants to emphasize neither strength or maleness. Can this frail guy really be a monster? Fundamentally, the problem the author is outlining is with the jury - that the tactic works, that disability is seen as frailty or with sympathy. The problem is that juries buy it, not that lawyers use it. Defense lawyers are not known for being subtle. The prosecution can reverse the image image that the jury s being shown, with material that shows a robust and powerful Weinstein at work. The larger problem - how to remove fundamental bias in how people perceive disability - is a lot more complex and well beyond the scope of how trials are manipulated.

  16. The jury in the Cosby trial didn’t seem moved to sympathy because he was blind. He was not exonerated for his crimes. Harvey may be suffering from the ravages of old age, but the trial is about his behaviour when he was fully able to overcome whatever his physical limitations were, at the time, to successfully inflict himself on his victims, without a walker!

  17. @T. Gordon Harvey Weinstein is only 67 years old. That's the new 50. The jury needs to be reminded of his 'youth' and recent vigor.

  18. I think people are reading too much into the walker. He is an old man, under a lot of stress and he had surgery. I surprise he is not in a wheel chair. None of the above will change the facts of the case.

  19. When did 67 become elderly?

  20. @sjs He’s not really that old. Sitxy-seven is the new thirty-seven! He is just hamming it up I suspect.

  21. @sjs you are wrong. he's a showman. it's a prop to gain sympathy.

  22. Some patient investigator needs to surveil Mr. Weinstein out of court. I am reminded of the many stories of those receiving disability payments being shown to be far less troubled by a putative disability when they did not expect to be observed.

  23. @Doug McNeill My father was a lawyer at the justice department. A man sued the US government, claiming that a train in the Panama Canal ran over his feet and that he couldn’t stand or walk. One night my father and mother went to a night club. Guess who they saw twirling around the dance floor. True story. Insurance companies have their own in-house private eyes who monitor people with spurious injury claims.

  24. @Bathsheba Robie many years ago my mother was on a jury. A woman in a wheel chair wearing a cervical collar was suing a driver for loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc. On her way home my mother's car was hit and the other driver immediately got out and started whining about her injuries, pain and suffering etc. Guess who hit her? Yep - my mother went to the judge in the morning to be excused from the jury and the judge immediately dismissed the case.

  25. Ironically, the writer makes a pretty good case for Mr. Weinstein to continue using the walker. If research shows that societal bias leads to a better outcome, why should he give it up? I'm sure the walker is not the only way he'll try to tap the sympathy of the jury. Maybe he'll show up wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey.

  26. Jasmine Harris seems concerned that a jury might possibly respond with undeserved mercy due to Weinstein's apparent (possibly counterfeit) fragility — but I always thought tolerance, mercy and forgiveness were core liberal values-? Are we now emulating our President in advocating for the cruelest maximum payback for those we abhor? Weinstein may be terrible, but some things (to quote Christopher Hitchens on Ayn Rand) require no further reinforcement.

  27. @b. norris. Let me see if I uderstand you. We all should be tolerant and understanding with his attempts to deceive? Maybe even admire his ingenuity?

  28. The prospect of many years in prison or high stakes of any sort will concentrate the mind in search of the smallest advantage. Jurors are generally not so naive that they fail to appreciate that trial lawyers are often thespians at heart or that defendants on trial for heinous offenses might actually try to manipulate them.

  29. "Disability aesthetics play a critical role in jury deliberations because, unlike race, gender, socioeconomic status or sexuality, people believe disability is fundamentally different and warrants differential treatment." I understand the point of the article and do not deny in the least that appearance of disability can be used to sway jury deliberations... but I disagree that it is "fundamentally different" from using any of the other characteristics. What if Weinstein had been black? What if it turned out that really he was originally a woman and transgendered to being a man and came from an up bringing of abuse and poverty? If, if, and if. Juries and judges all know that lawyers on both sides will try to lever advantage in any way (legally, one hopes) possible in order to gain their desired outcome. But thanks for calling attention to the possible walker ruse all the same.

  30. This column provides an example of why we should prefer the mixed jury common elsewhere in the world, where laymen and professional judges sit together and a judge writes a reasoned opinion as to why the jury reached the decision it did. That would not end all bias in decision, but it would go a long way toward reducing it.

  31. @JR I give more credit to the average citizen. Having only seen Mr. Weinstein use a walker in this setting and circumstance, I am inclined to think that jurors would suspect, as I do, that it is merely for show.

  32. If it's the case that the walker and shuffling, frail appearance of Weinstein is a ploy by his attorneys to squeeze a bit of sympathy from jurors, I don't think it would work on this potential juror. The instant I saw photos of Walker Weinstein, my prejudices went the other direction and I assumed it was a ploy as I describe. The comments from medical people here, who note that the walker is being used improperly and that the posture is not conducive to recovery from back surgery, lead me to suspect my cynicism is warranted.

  33. @CB Evans I agree completely. Ya haf ta laff!

  34. I agree with all of this. If the reporting is correct, he had a bilateral laminectomy (the equivalent of removing a bone spur), a very simple and easily recoverable spine surgery. Walkers are not recommended after this type of surgery and it is clear, he is using the walker the way he is to "act" more immobile than he actually is. He is clearly creating a "persona," one of the perpetual patient.

  35. Well okay, when a litigant shows up in court using a walker, by all means lets send them our for an independent medical exam to make sure they really need that walker. Ms. Harris has definitely made a strong case for reform.

  36. @Thomas Kurt Oh. yes, let's us have one more law prompted by a walker . As Cicero said , two thousand years ago: more laws , less justice.

  37. A walking device provides stability. That is essential. But so do shoes and the shoes he is wearing are slippers hence unstable for providing walking stability. It is a ruse people!

  38. As someone who does use a walker, I was tipped off by the cheap device he was using. I have no where near Mr. Weinstein's net worth, but I can afford an easier to use and much more efficient walker. However mine doesn't scream disability and poverty like his does. Mr Weinstein knows theater.

  39. @Ellen The tennis balls on the walker's feet were an especially nice touch, I thought. Weinstein learned something from the set designers and costumers on his movies.

  40. @Ellen Absolutely right. That was my first visual impression. I live in a low-income, over 55, apartment complex and many of the wonderful people here use walkers. NOT ONE of them use that type of walker. It's all show, and double, triple shame on the sleaze Weinstein.

  41. As fortune would have it, I am recently discharged from hospital where, for the second time in as many years, I was instructed in the proper use of it. Mr. Weinstein’s “style” is risible contrasted against the recommended employment: back as straight as possible, arms vertical to the elbow, shoulder’s forward, and head up. I can imagine conditions that prevent this ideal posture, but I have seen nothing to suggest that he suffers them. It is an act, and a poorly executed one at that.

  42. Nobody of any means uses a walker like this any more. Most readers have probably seen the "new breed" of walkers in shopping malls, on the street-- they are light, sleek and mobile with 4 wheels (and hand brakes). My 97 year old mother in law gets around with hers as slick as a ferret! Other readers-- and the author--are correct that the bumbling old style are so difficult to shuffle around with that it might well add to an impression of disability.

  43. @AS There are differing reasons for different walkers, and I can assure the writer that this style is still in general use.

  44. @M Clement Hall But not by millionaires. Theoretically they and their health care providers would know about rolling walkers.

  45. @AS Some of us still do have to use this style of walker. When it is medically necessary for strength and/or balance the rolling walkers aren't helpful or even safe to use. I have no idea whether he needs this type, or any walker, but please don't assume that the style of walker is relevant. It is possible to get around pretty well with a front wheel walker when it's used correctly. As others have noted the one he's using is too short for him and he's not using it correctly.

  46. If jurors are so easily swayed by appearances why do we still have a jury system? Is it time for academic lawyers to start working on an alternative such as an Artificial Intelligence system of judgement and arbitration? I have a feeling that won't fly with the lawyers. Why? They love the jury system because they think they can manipulate the jurors with extraneous factors such as appearance. After all the whole personal injury system is built on promoting the appearance of misery in the plaintiff. What juror would want to compensate a plaintiff who appeared robust and cheerful? Is it any wonder Mr. Weinstein and his team borrow from the personal injury approach?

  47. Weinstein will not get an Academy Award for this production. Manipulation of disability signals (equipment, parking tags, assistance in airports) is a slap in the face to those who need them, casting suspicion on the disabled. Fortunately I find there is more good will than bad actors, and my wife and I grateful for that.

  48. I recently had major heart surgery, but honestly, it didn’t affect my ability to walk. I had to make a flight connection at Detroit, and rather than run or miss the flight, I requested a wheelchair and attendant. I can’t begin to describe how ridiculous I felt about the whole thing, although I noticed other people hop off their wheelchairs and bound for the remaining overhead racks!

  49. If you only the punishment of other people made everyone else as happy as they seem to think it will. How many thousands of years of vindictive jursiprudence, and what do these legal systems actually accomplish? Ending crime? So what to do with this monster? No idea. But all this slavering satisfaction at the prospect of lifelong imprisonment, and making it an occasion for an essay on the "aesthetics of disability"? Surely the law abiding can find healthier satisfactions?

  50. I’m so glad to see this issue discussed. As a young person with a disability who uses mobility devices (usually a cane) to get around, I was appalled by the way in which earlier Times coverage— and many reader comments— seemed to be judging or moralizing about Weinstein on the basis of his walker. The consensus (even in one of the Times’s own captions) seemed to be that either Weinstein was a faker, or, if the walker was real, his impairment was a kind of cosmic retribution for bad behavior. This kind of coverage reinforces the false notion that a person’s outside mirrors their inside— i.e., that people with visible disabilities are damaged or unsavory in some essential way. Personally, I don’t think Weinstein’s use of a walker is going to sway any judges in his favor. But he is innocent until proven guilty, and his mobility device should not be an occasion for harmful stereotyping.

  51. @Michael Very well argued Michael. The walker is irrelevant.

  52. @Michael. I appreciate your sentiments regarding judging someone based upon disabilities. But I think the comments are about his apparent use of a device to elicit sympathy for his supposed disability. That should enrage anyone with a true disability, whether he is guilty or not of the allegations. As a disclaimer, I am a retired nurse who has had back surgery and have doubted his need for a walker from the beginning. I believe he is disrespecting all those who have true disabilities and would love not to have to use a walker for mobility.

  53. @Michael You are right - and it is about judging anyone by outside appearances, period. The physically beautiful get a pass; any visible disabilities or degrees of unattractiveness have to work much harder. It goes so far back in our human roots - look at fairy tales and myths. I'd also give respect to what @Michael from MI says: this isn't a rational issue, BUT awareness and thought can be a first step to change. Legal protections are another. Yet changing individual reactions and behavior requires experience with people with different abilities, and it comes more slowly. Weinstein, or without the walker, is an amoral exploiter of other people. As such it would not be below him to use a prop to generate sympathy - - and he is more aware than most of what "works" in fictional accounts.

  54. Good article and mention of research backing influences on juries. But one correction from psychological research: these reactions are not based on "beliefs", which indicate a rational basis. Instead such reactions are based on automatic, evolutionarily derived reactions. They occur without thinking, like other prejudices, and without insight into their causes. Rational argumentation does not easily overcome them.

  55. Thank you Jasmine for raising this. An Oscar performance by one who thoroughly knows the game.

  56. @LM Yes, gives him 30 years and an Oscar. Gavel down.

  57. Whether he needs the walker or not, I am certain that he is deliberately exaggerating his posture, slow pace, and frailty. But, as a criminal defense lawyer for almost 40 years, I also think the act has little potential to affect the jury -- unless some of them choose to ignore the judge's repeated admonitions to avoid all media coverage. I say this because jurors almost never see the defendant walking at all. The jury is always the last in and the first out of the courtroom. When the jury enters, the defendant and all the lawyers are already seated in at their tables. The moment a recess is called, the jury is led out, while the defendant and all lawyers remain at their tables. It is possible that jurors might glimpse Weinstein on the street before or after court, but there is never going to be a time that they watch him dodder into the courtroom.

  58. @cds333 That is a worthy rebuttal to the arguments we've read among these Reader Picks. Thank you.

  59. Woodie Guthrie, songwriter and poet, the first famous person in the USA to be diagnosed with Huntingtons Disease, was regarded for many years as an alcoholic, due to his jerky, falling, sometimes incoherent public appearances. Even today, the chorea, tics, psychotic episodes, and speech stammering associated with Huntingtons are not well known to the general public. This article emphasises how easily we fall into a judgemental trap when interfacing and interacting with persons who are experiencing the effects of physical and/or mental disabilities. Today, it is my experience that, for the most part, people with disabilities are not looking for pity. The thought that Weinstein may be simulating weakness, supported by a walker as he moves, in order to garner pity, is a sickening one, and an insult to all disabled persons who bear their struggles with dignity and pride.

  60. The analysis of more serious concerns with attitudes towards disability is insightful. As for Weinstein- - look at the picture-- the former most powerful man in Hollywood, who still spends more than an average workers annual wage in a week or so, using the cheapest generic grade walker? And using it badly? Wearing loafers that no PT would tolerate? Not convincing. With a lot of us. it does trigger the opposite reaction, which could be a negative ripple for those who need accommodation. His power was that he could control the perception of an individual's talent, aside from literally vetoing or approving hiring. It isn't surprising that he is willing to appropriate cues signaling disability to benefit himself, no matter how this might harm others. Like Trump, there seems to be zero capacity for empathy, and the arrogance has given way to self pity. Let's assume that he is too repulsive a person to become someone's image of age or disability.

  61. Good points! How humiliating for someone who wants so badly to be seen as strong and capable. His well deserved punishment has already begun.

  62. Well, Ms Harris, I always think that crying victims on the witness stand elicit visceral responses from jurors as well. Maybe we can call it a draw for both sides as far as the sympathy issue.

  63. Good grief. Equating crying when recalling a traumatic experience is wholly different from using a walker (or cane, Mr. Cosby), to elicit sympathy.

  64. @JP Are you referring to actual courtrooms, or to Law and Order reruns?

  65. As someone with a disability, it's insulting to see people take advantage of others' possible sympathy by faking or exaggerating a disability. Disability with benefits for them.

  66. Many assume the egregious alleged behavior of the defendant here negates any possibility of genuine disability or pain. That notion, much like the authors argument regarding sympathy, is likely false and is unfortunately more a symptom of our collective selfishness: we believe what we want to believe.

  67. At the time he was an aggressor, which seems to have been a long time, he never showed disability. Many of us have disabilities which we don't show in public but which affect the quality of our lives. I hope the jury is not befuddled by Weinstein's court room theatrics.

  68. As a neurosurgeon- Nobody needs a walker after his operation (laminectomy). Unless he waited way too long to have the procedure or something went very wrong. Almost certainly, neither is true. (There would be markers & signs either way.) Plus I agree with commenters who use walkers: there’s no way he couldn’t afford a better one. It’s a disgusting ruse and an insult to people who actually need walkers. Too bad they can’t use this clear attempt at jury manipulation as further character evidence.

  69. @Dr. K You know some people actually do not survive a laminectomy, or any surgery. So, i suppose those do not need a walker as you suggest.

  70. @Dr. K I bet he doesn't even have a doctor's prescription for the walker.

  71. Surely there was a conversation at some point, between Mr. Weinstein and one or more of his lawyers, about the implications and ramifications of his using a walker in this way, in the context of the trial. Perhaps without just saying, "we think you should use it" in such-and-such a fashion, the attorneys did carefully express all that they knew about the research mentioned in this op-ed. And I'm sure they know a lot about that research, if they're worth their salt. Their desire to "zealously defend" played an important role, of course. Their ethical fiber surely was present too, although maybe somewhat frail. In any case, I assume all details were carefully considered. And I'd go further, to say it's likely that Mr. Weinstein, in particular, is consciously mining the manipulative value of some choices in regard to his appearance. Some might respond, "what defendant WOULDN'T do so?" But I don't think such a mindset is universal.

  72. I think that there's a failure here to think through the larger issue. I have the impression that street criminals who never wore a tie and suit are routinely outfitted in dress clothing at trial. I assume that this is meant to sway a jury. Is there an argument that this is objectionable? Or is the idea that people who wear dress clothes are not a protected class and therefore that their 'look' can be freely appropriated to give the jury the false impression - often unconscious - that the defendant is something other than he or she is. If there were a uniform dress code for defendants - that would be one thing. But if it's a matter of choice, attorneys will do what they do. It is what it is.

  73. While I agree that various types of disability may help a defendant, in this case, not so much. If anything, it makes Weinstein look creepier---an impression that will not help him with the kinds of offenses he is charged with.

  74. @Amanda Jones I hope you're right but wouldn't be surprised if he gets off OJ-style.

  75. I have been struck with debilitating neuropathy over the last year and now rely on a walker to support me on the short walk from the local hospital parking lot to the front desk. I find it humiliating (not advantageous) to clunk along with that rickety thing. But of course I’m not publically on trial for repeated sexual assaults. And yet I understand viscerally why and how “walkers” and wheelchairs and canes and walking sticks are useful. Not emblematic. And so this editorial puzzles me. First, can we assume that Weinstein doesn’t need the support? Has any independent source determined whether he did undergo a spinal operation and is now hobbled? If he did undergo spinal surgery, and he doesn’t want to hang onto his lawyers’ arms to drag him into the courtroom, let him use the walker. Forget the delicate political arguments. Yes, he’s probably faking. He is a proven fake, attacker, and villain. But I do trust a sensible jury, and active lawyers, can ignore the silver walker and choose this (evil) man’s just dessert.

  76. Considering that Mr. Weinstein probably has the Gold Standard in Health care I, as a Jury member, would question the veracity of his disability. I have many friends who have had back surgery and physical therapy and after six weeks have no more use of a walker. Considering the fact that Weinstein was a Movie Industry mogul it is not too far fetched to think that his walker is nothing but a prop.

  77. "unlike race, gender, socioeconomic status or sexuality, people believe disability is fundamentally different and warrants differential treatment" This statement is absolutely incorrect. It is a well known fact that black defendants receive harsher sentences. It is just as well known that women female gender is associated with lesser sentences.

  78. We already know that Weinstein is cynical, manipulative and narcissistic. And it has been widely reported that his lead attorney is keenly aware that her clothing choices affect juror perception of her competence. The jury will decide if Weinstein is criminally guilty. But the rest of us can judge whether he and his team are using the walker to mislead and confuse the court of public opinion. On that front his defense is DOA.

  79. "Or the truth might be that he, like many others before him, will hope the benefit of disability aesthetics will help him in the courtroom." There is no question that Weinstein is taking full advantage of "disability aesthetics.' As the writer notes, Paul Manafort, Robert Gregory Bowers, and Joseph James DeAngelo have used "disability aesthetics" to their advantage. As did Bill Cosby. I can only hope that the jury will not be unduly influenced by Weinstein's walker and dole out fair justice.

  80. Take the walker away. Let the fellow crawl to the courtrooms. A person who inflicts pain on his victims should not have our compassion.

  81. Weinstein? A walker? C'mon! Smoke and mirrors. To create the appearance of weakness--a sympathetic figure. And from where old Harvey comes from, appearance is everything.

  82. Very perceptive. The appearance of disability does make people seem less threatening, more vulnerable. In the same way, seeing the defendant in shackles and an orange jumpsuit creates the opposite impression which is why (in most jurisdictions at least) the accused is permitted a change of clothes before appearing in court. Criminal trials always have an element of theatre and Weinstein's walker is just another player in the unfolding drama.

  83. Just before Cosby's trial he went blind...needing a body man to help guide through the labyrinthian halls of justice. Old dog, old tricks. But won't hunt.

  84. Straight out of a Hollywood mob movie, when the elder mobsters come to court with pronounced disabilities. Didn’t Harvey work in Hollywood?

  85. The gist of these comments would seem to challenge the idea that the walker elicits sympathy.

  86. Disability aesthetics didn't help Bill Cosby. Weinstein definitely needs a wheelchair.

  87. As this is one of a common ploy's the lawyers tell their defendants to do when going to court. As all of a sudden their client will be admitted to the hospital, see their doctors to address their new found ,past illnesses. And in hoping to sway the jury, the general public, media, etc.. Another ploy is to start donated their money to various charities , to show how much they really care about people and not themselves. PS just ask his victims...

  88. All the women appearing in court to testify against him should also use walkers.

  89. Weinstein is on trial for what he did as a robust male of considerable heft and vitality. Weinstein used his position and physical strength to sexually abuse and allegedly rape women. His acts range from consensual where the women might have gone along to further their careers to physical abuse including rape. It was then, not now. Now, he will have to pay for it or use his hand.

  90. Wasn't Mr Weinstein in the acting business?

  91. I recommend jurors read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Strangers.” It will make you rethink our ability to judge a person’s intentions based upon observation of their demeanor.

  92. I just want to know (but have yet to hear): Did Weinstein EVER use a walker - or cane, etc - BEFORE he became a disgraced person and defendant?? I suspect not and that it's 110% about trying to get some sympathy, when his personal behavior itself is beyond shameful.

  93. Check out the latest rollator walker from Denmark, at 10lbs made of the same carbon fiber used in top of the line bicycles; www.ByAcre.com As the US rep, I contemplated sending one to Harvey's lawyer's office but decided nah.

  94. @nick Thompson good he doesn't deserve a walker!

  95. And the Oscar goes to...Harvey Weinstein!

  96. My hope is that Harvey gets to spend some time with Bill Cosby. They could swap stories and try to one up each other. From what I've read about both of them, they could argue for years!

  97. The first time I saw him using the walker, I thought he was playing to the jury. But, I'm a cynic!

  98. Weinstein’s walker is equivalent to the emotional support dogs we see on airplanes. Really, when I see him, I hope it’s real. His disability protects women from his predatory behavior.

  99. walker height totally misadjusted. Who prescribed it?

  100. @AW - His lawyer.

  101. I bet if you put a beautiful actress in front of him, the walker would disappear fast.

  102. I suspect he is acting and overacting at that. Thirty years ago my partners and I were in the business of financing motion picture production. We dealt with the Weinsteins, Harvey and his brother Bob. Even then pretty much everyone in the biz knew Harvey was a sexual predictor. It has taken far, far too long for him to be brought to an accounting. If he gets acquitted he would probably dance down the courthouse steps like a character in a Singing in the Rain, except he also faces charges in California. By then he will have upped his act and be brought in in a hospital bed.

  103. As a former criminal defense attorney, I can say that you do anything and everything you can to make your client, the defendant, seem more in need of sympathy or respect. As a public defender, we provided suits to those who had none. Our training and ethics demand that we do whatever we can to aid our clients’ defense. Whether or not Harvey Weinstein needs a walker was, no doubt, encouraged by his counsel, just as Paul Manafort was. Remember when Mr. Manafort came bounding into court with that stupid half smile? It’s all choreographed.

  104. If societal bias makes the use of a disability (Manafort wheelchair, Cosby blindness, Weinstein walker, etc) as an advantage, how come only males use it? To those men I say, stand up and take your justice like a woman.

  105. Fine assertions. What do you suggest should be done about them?

  106. He needs a physical therapist to adjust that walker for him. No professional would allow him to walk in such a position. In that light, one can assume it is all for show. Not to mention those slippers!!!

  107. When a formerly powerful Hollywood mogul is facing life in prison if convicted on sexually predatory behaviour charges he will do anything to avoid that fate. Using a walker as a prop to gain sympathy from the jurors would not surprise. At the end of the case what will count is the compelling testimony of the sexual victims. The walker will not help Weinstein walk.

  108. He can afford an army of footmen to carry him everywhere on a throne. The walker is the cheapest looking aluminum stereotype they could find. How many hours did he practice looking hunched over and exhausted? The image of this only enhances his dishonesty.

  109. It's true – we don't know, if Mr. Weinstein is really in need of the walker. What we do know though is that more than 90 women have accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct including rape, unwanted touching and harassment. We also know he ran a system of private investigator to cover up his actions and pressure alleged victims, spanning decades. Do we expect honesty from such a man — when this trial could be his last chance to influence the rest of his miserable life, by manipulating his perception by the jury? I don’t think so. It’s yet another shady opera.

  110. He also has been wearing gray suits which make his skin look gray and old I think that is part of the scheme to make him look infirm

  111. People with disabilities using walkers are basically people, no matter the stereotypes of the aged and infirm in our sick American society. Don't forget that those living after retirement may have 30 more years of life left if the Coronavirus doesn't get them first. Lawyers are ham actors (cf Dershowitz in President Trump's Senate Impeachment Trial). Looking forward to seeing Trump and posse in walkers.

  112. Your supposition rings true - the Walker is too short - you are b not supposed to lean over it. Theatrics? Would not put it past him.

  113. Bill Cosby during the trial was led by various members of his entourage because he was reported to be losing his sight, remember that? Didn't help him with the jury, in the end.

  114. Weinstein’s is debilitated now in 2020 NOT when he committed the crimes.

  115. Watch Neil Simon's Fortune Cookie for a classic lesson on to create sympathy for a client.

  116. Human beings are all emotionally, mentally and physically naturally differently abled. Explicitly and implicitly implying that they are thereby crippled is a legal and moral dilemma. Pity and sympathy can comfortably and condescendingly and paternalistically separate us from any humble humane empathy for our fellow men, women and children based upon meaningless differences. Accommodating and equalizing those differences is a qualitative at best solution to an endless diversity of abilities that have no ability performance meaningful impact.

  117. Maybe I know too much about the accusations made against him and my preconceptions about him are too hardened for me to be a juror, but when I see him with the walker, I see only infirmity caused by a decadent and depraved life.

  118. "But their common base of knowledge and experience about disability is at best incomplete or inaccurate, and so, by default, jurors will rely on a flawed set of beliefs when they see victims and defendants who appear in someway disabled." While this statement may be truthful, it is presented as a fact - which is an unfortunate conclusion to make and exposes the author's bias. Nevertheless, I am reminded of the classic Brady Bunch court case where Mike Brady tosses his briefcase, causing the car accident plaintiff to quickly turn his head - revealing that his neck brace was in fact a prop to gain sympathy from the jury. Perhaps the state should employ an attractive woman to see if she can surreptitiously cause Mr. Weinstein to leap up from his chair and chase her out of the room!

  119. How about a Special Academy Award for Most Egregious Use of a Prop. We could call it the Harvey.

  120. Weinstein is trying to make himself look like a defenseless, harmless person rather than the pathological predator who he has long been. The ruse is itself part of his harmful way of operating. He doesn’t care if he is enforcing stereotypes of the disabled any more than he cared about the women on whom he preyed.

  121. I wish the author would have considered the trial and conviction of Bill Cosby and explained that sometimes these theories of culpability don't apply in certain situations.

  122. The author does not mention that Weinstein is also using the wrong type of walker. A person who has even limited cognitive and physical ability would use a rollator, a much heavier type of walker with four (larger) wheels, hand brakes, and a seat. Available on Amazon for about $60. The type he is using is used only by people for whom the greater rolling ability of a rollator would be dangerous because they lack the cognitive or physical ability to control it. If he can walk down stairs, as shown in the photo, he can use a rollator. Here on the Upper West Side, rollators are almost as ubiquitous as strollers. Not an obscure phenomenon. And the slippers? Supportive? Please!

  123. Typical defense manoeuvring. The old Mafia bosses used the same tactics. Wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. Disgusting.

  124. See Vincent 'the chin' Gigante's infamous Bathrobe Defense photo's!

  125. Weinstein's walker, hypocrisy personified. The man has behaved like a monster. Lock him up.

  126. A cane, two canes, a walker, a wheelchair - so long as Weinstein doesn't appear in court dressed only dressed in his bathrobe.

  127. “…To the judge, jurors, lawyers, reporters and onlookers the walker conveys an image, accurate or not, of physical weakness and dependence… So – let me get this straight… You’ve just now awakened to the notion that Harvey Weinstein may have culturally misappropriated human hurt and misery – and exploited the same via theatrical imagery and cinematic illusion – for his personal gain… Even with the difference in our coastal time zones, likely you’re quite aware that Trump and Nadler are in a steel-cage death match… Over whether Riverside South is ever going to grace the Hudson – though you’re probably not yet aware of the outcome… I won’t spoil it for you – but will prophesize a sequel, a volume 2… (OK, a little spoilage…Jerry brings in someone from your coast to do the job, second time around) In the meantime, since you’re preponderously certain Harv’s faking – get an injunction prohibiting him from using accessible curb-cuts in NYC sidewalks… Or using the sidewalks, at all… Make him roll in the bus lanes near the curb – where all the open-grid storm-drain grates and dirty snow residue are… PS NYT, if you’d only used the photo of H going down the bannister skateboard-like, using his little-wheeled little friend (oops, wrong producer) – once he thought the cameras were off – it’d have probably helped your closing argument…

  128. Frankly this ploy reminded me of mafia don Vincent Gigante and his "dementia" act. To the uninformed, Weinstein's "disability" will elicit sympathy...which is the intention, in my view.

  129. So now Weinstein should be deprived of the walker. Would you have him crawl into court? Or do you prefer that we dispense with the trial, and lynch him now?

  130. @Rhporter Odd response. Your assumption is that he needs the walker.

  131. Judge him on his actions, not his walker, jury. The degree of evilness, cowardice, shamelessness, immorality, wickedness, irresponsibility, mental deficiency, and dogged incivility of Weinstein holds no bounds. Get it done, jury.

  132. The man is Shameless.

  133. He gives a bad name to real disabled people!

  134. They do allow walkers in prison!

  135. And the point is?

  136. So, will we someday be required to have sex with an obnoxious person less we otherwise discriminate?

  137. Cosby did the same thing. Soon trump will try it.

  138. @Howard Clark . Bone spurs on the brain. That might work.

  139. His current medical status acknowledged as a concern, it is hard to feel much, if any, compassion for this serial sexual predator who used his status and power to ruin the lives of many women.

  140. Weinstein should be convicted and put in Epstein’s old cell where the cameras do not work and supervision is minimal when on suicide watch.

  141. @Dave Barr can arrange that.

  142. We know this walker is a prop because it is an old-fashioned aluminum walker, the kind you see all over nursing homes, with tennis balls on two feet to stop the squeaking sound. People with money, like Weinstein, use much nicer, sleeker walkers in vibrant colors. Hard to believe this is the type of walker he would choose in real life, but it works to make him look frail and old, and that is clearly the point.

  143. This is part of the "Bill Cosby" defense. Fortunately, it did not work for Cosby.

  144. Of course the walker is a ploy. Just look at it - a decrepit piece of hardware they likely dragged out of a prop room at the movie studio. Today's walkers are much more attractive, some with 4 decent wheels, also handles and breaks. No one would choose the type Weinstein uses except to look the part. Being bent over while pushing it is similarly a ploy; he would be much more upright with a normal walker, available at drug stores anywhere. It's a wonder he isn't in pajamas.

  145. It's a tactic. A sad tactic. Ask Bill Cosby if it works.

  146. Please don't forget that this gentleman was the number 1 fundraiser for the Clintons. Also do not forget that Bill was the number 1 passenger on the Epstein's Lolita Express. That makes the Clintons the creepiest people in politics. Can't make this up! And what happened to Epstein; conveniently dead!

  147. The logic leaps of this comment--on an article about Harvey Weinstein's walker--are truly dumbfounding.

  148. @Bill Virginia Also have it on good authority that Bill assassinated President Lincoln. Can’t make this up.

  149. His pitiful performance in a cheap walker will not help him. He is so obviously playing the part his lawyers have instructed him to play. Hopefully any juror will be able to see through this sham. Shame on Weinstein.

  150. Weinstein's walker is fake - Weinstein is playing a part of a weak, disabled man to win over the public and jury.

  151. The clunky walker is a ploy to suggest to the judge and/or jury that Harvey is a broken old man who could no longer harm anyone. Too bad the fact that he was obese & grotesquely out of shape for decades didn’t prevent him from being physically able to rape & molest so many women.

  152. @Reg Nurse I agree.

  153. Ms Rotunno is one canny operator. 'Nuff said.

  154. I'm just surprised he hasn't been wearing pj's and a robe like the Mafia head in NYC used to do. I'm hoping that the walker doesn't give Weinstein a sympathy vote from jurors, and they're able to see that he will do anything to avoid a prison sentence.

  155. Somebody needs to pull a Mike Brady (Brady Bunch) move in the courtroom!

  156. Are walkers allowed in prison?

  157. It's backfired for Harvey. It's all a PR sympathy show. His lawyers were dopey enough to try it. The very fact that this op-ed was penned proves it.

  158. I don’t really have an opinion about Weinstein’s guilt, one way or another. But that walker never fails to get a giggle out of me! It is so beyond ridiculous. He might as well cut off a toe (or any other appendage) to gain sympathy.

  159. I just read that the Weinstein jury is not sequestered, meaning there's a good chance they have walked past newstands in NYC which show large cover photos and headlines about his perfectly fine mobility outside of court. Perhaps even read the articles though against the rules. I assume a few of the jurors are chuckling as he comes "walkering" into court, hunched over.

  160. What a scammer! If he actually had said surgery, someone should tell him that leaning forward on a walker is the worst possible thing he could be doing for that condition. In fact such incorrect posture is usually the reason and need for corrective surgery. If anything after surgery a doctor would have Weinstein wearing a elastic back brace forcing him to stand more upright.

  161. @Stephen I’ve read similar comments on social media and they may not be correct. If suffering from spinal stenosis (which Weinstein’s lawyers said is one of his problems) then walking hunched or bent over like that is exactly how one would use a walker. That posture opens up the space between discs and relieves pressure on the sciatic nerves. (That said, I hope he rots in jail for the rest of his pain-filled life.)

  162. If I recall, Bill Cosby was suddenly blind during his trial, and had to be led to the courtroom on someone's arm. These days, he's back to 20/20.

  163. @Tintin These days, he's in prison. He does have an eye disease, but he absolutely tried to play the infirm old man card.

  164. Speaking just for myself, I can’t imagine ever voluntarily having sex with Mr. Weinstein in exchange for a part in his remake of “Gone With The Wind” or the lead role in his next blockbuster movie, except by force or by gunpoint.

  165. @A. Stanton I asked a friend who used be a minor actress if she would have sex with him for a part. At first she said "depends on the part" then said, no she wouldn't and during her short career the topic did come up with other bigwigs but she declined. Maybe whtat's why her career was so brief. That's Hollywood for ya!

  166. And that's why you didn't have a big Hollywood career. Sad to say, the casting couch was a real thing for many decades.

  167. You can tell it’s not real because a man of his wealth would have at least purchased a fancier walker with paint and brakes. The tennis balls really work but man, technology has evolved for those who really use them!

  168. He picked the most common, inexpensive walker and slapped some tennis balls on it. Come on... It's a prop.

  169. I know nothing about back surgery or how one would recover from it. But there's one small detail in his walker that speaks volumes: he's got tennis balls stuck under the back legs of the walker. He's deceitfully trying to get the public and, more importantly, the jurors to see him as one of our own humble parents or grandparents, bravely forging ahead as best he can with an inexpensive solution. Surely a man of his means would be able to afford a more expensive and medically sound way of remaining ambulatory during recovery. The arrogant and imperious Harvey Weinstein is not your aging and frugal father in a retirement community in Boca Raton.

  170. That's a very shiny walker with very, very clean tennis balls. Interesting optics indeed.

  171. TENNIS balls? They look kinda new. Anyone who has used this least-expensive-of-all walkers knows the tennis balls wear out, get dirty, need replacing often. Anyone who needs a walker for longer than a couple of weeks will upgrade (if they can afford it) a Rollator - four wheels, a seat, and handbrakes.

  172. @Liam Ryan But of course he's so rich, he can afford to change those tennis balls ten or twenty times a day. That's why they look brand new.

  173. @Nancy Robertson So true. !!

  174. I assume such a majestic building would have an elevator system and therefore Mr. Weinstein could be pushed in a wheelchair instead of hobbling day at night under excruciating back pain suffered by so many Americans. In any case, he was Oscar material the moment he put those tennis balls on the legs of his walker.

  175. It's a cheap, shoddy act. He is after all, a movie maker, playing the part of a doddering old man flagrantly sucking up pity. He has been a dangerous rapist all his movie making life, playing the part of the mogul who can make or break naive young women. Well, he's broken a lot of them, permanently.