First it was a story. Then a moment. Now, two months after women began to come forward in droves to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment and assault, it is a movement.
Time magazine has named ‘the silence breakers’ its person of the year for 2017, referring to those women, and the global conversation they have started.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Edward Felsenthal, said in an interview on the Today show Wednesday that the #MeToo movement represented the ‘fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by women and some men too.’
Rose McGowan reached a settlement with producer Harvey Weinstein in 1997 after accusing him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room. McGowan’s decision to speak to the press this year helped expose Weinstein as a serial harasser. "The number of people sharing their stories with me is so intense, especially since all of this is incredibly triggering for me as well. People forget a lot that there’s a human behind this, someone who is very hurt. But that’s O.K. It fuels my fire. They really f-cked with the wrong person." (Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.) @rosemcgowan is among the Silence Breakers, TIME's Person of the Year. Read the full story on TIME.com. Photograph by Billy & Hells for TIME. #TIMEPOY
Investigations published in October by The New York Times and The New Yorker, both of them detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, helped fuel the sudden rush of women coming forward.
Millions of people responded with the hashtag #MeToo when Alyssa Milano urged them to post their experiences on Twitter. "It’s affected me on a cellular level to hear all these stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I have not stopped crying. I look at my daughter and think, Please, let this be worth it. Please, let it be that my daughter never has to go through anything like this.” @milano_alyssa is among the Silence Breakers, TIME's Person of the Year. Read the full story on TIME.com. Photograph by Billy & Hells for TIME. #TIMEPOY
In a joint interview after the choice was announced, Tarana Burke, who created the Me Too mantra years ago, and actress Alyssa Milano, who helped promote it more recently, focused on what was still left to do.
‘I’ve been saying from the beginning that it’s not just a moment, it’s a movement,’ Burke said. ‘I think now the work really begins. The hashtag is a declaration. But now we’re poised to really stand up and do the work.’
Milano agreed, laying out her aspirations for the movement.
‘I want companies to take on a code of conduct, I want companies to hire more women, I want to teach our children better,’ she said. ‘These are all things that we have to set in motion, and as women we have to support each other and stand together and say that’s it, we’re done, no more.’
Radio DJ David Mueller groped Taylor Swift during a photo op in 2013. She reported him to his radio station, KYGO, and he was terminated. He said her accusations were false and sued Swift. She countersued for $1 and won. "When I testified, I had already had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team, including my mother … I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forgo any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me … Why should I be polite? I’m told it was the most amount of times the word ass has ever been said in Colorado federal court." (Mueller’s lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) @taylorswift is among the Silence Breakers, TIME's Person of the Year. Read the full story on TIME.com. Photograph by Billy & Hells for TIME. #TIMEPOY
It is a testament to the size of the movement that the set of Today itself, where the announcement was made, had recently been the site of such a reckoning. Matt Lauer, one of NBC’s most well-known personalities for decades, was fired last week after an allegation of sexual harassment from a subordinate.
Time’s 2017 runner-up for person of the year, Donald Trump, was accused during his presidential campaign by more than 10 women of sexual misconduct.
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