Three big Hollywood #MeToo names are being charged with... nothing

We’re in the vicinity of a year since the big flood of #MeToo stories first began breaking, mostly involving Hollywood figures. One would imagine that with this much time having passed, criminal charges would be dropping left and right by now. A few have (see Weinstein, Harvey), but many of the other accusations have produced surprisingly little action. Now we have an update on three prominent names all in a single week. Investigations by the Los Angeles County District Attorney have apparently been completed into claims made against Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal and Anthony Anderson. The results are going to be a bit disappointing for some people, though, since no charges will be filed against any of them. (LA Times)

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has declined to file charges against three actors accused of sexual abuse in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Kevin Spacey and Steven Seagal won’t face criminal charges following allegations from the 1990s because the alleged incidents are beyond the statute of limitations, and prosecutors rejected filing a charge against “black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson, citing insufficient evidence.

The D.A.’s entertainment task force on Tuesday said charges would not be filed against the three men, who are among dozens in Hollywood under investigation by police in Los Angeles County following sexual abuse accusations.

I suppose this was inevitable, really. So many of the stories coming out of Hollywood date back so far that this statute of limitations issue was bound to crop up. As the LA Times article goes on to point out, the statute of limitations was only six years back when the incidents involving Spacey and Seagal allegedly took place. As far as Anderson goes, the Black-ish actor was only accused by one woman who refused to cooperate with the investigation and they hit a dead end.

As with many people I’ve seen commenting on social media, I’ve gone through periods where I began rebelling against the idea of even having a statue of limitations. But it’s tough for me to deny that some of the reasons for it are compelling. The more time goes by, the more people’s memories fade or become distorted. Witnesses can move away or even die. Evidence can degrade. It may become impossible for an innocent person to clear their name or, in other cases, for a successful prosecution against the guilty to be made at all. That doesn’t mean the system couldn’t stand a bit of revision, though.

Still, it’s important to have reported the alleged crimes and at least attempted to handle them through the normal courts of law. These men have been judged in the Court of Public Opinion, but that’s neither fair nor satisfying. If we accept the claims made against Spacey and Segal as being valid, what justice has been served if all they lost was some acting work? And it’s sounding more and more as if the case against Anderson may have been false. If that’s the case, what justice is there for Anderson now that his reputation has been tarnished?

It’s a pity we can’t come up with better answers, particularly for the victims, but I suppose if men have at least started behaving a bit better in Hollywood some good may have been accomplished.