On October 15 of last year, in response to rising allegations of sexual assault by movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Alyssa Milano retweeted a message stating “… If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem” with the addendum “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Many did. By the next day, tens of thousands had replied to the tweet either with the solitary message “Me Too” or with their own personal story. The movement that this tweet created opened the floodgates on stories of assault and harassment, empowering more and more women to come forward with their stories and indeed showing the entire world the scope of the problem of sexual harassment.
The first allegation against Weinstein was made by Ashley Judd in an article of the New York Times on October 5. Her story was coupled with others which detailed how Weinstein would lure aspiring actresses into hotel rooms to make sexual advances on them. After the revelation of her story, a New York Times investigation found thirty years of undisclosed allegations against Weinstein including at least eight settlements with different women. A common theme was found to be how Weinstein would use his position of power to coerce the women into compliance. His former company enforced contracts prohibiting the criticizing of the company or its leaders, and in one story, Weinstein lured a law and business student into an interview during which he made advances towards her and offered to help her career, while many others described him appearing naked before them and moving frequently between lewd remarks and management of the business.
From here, the movement spread, affecting men as well as women. Three days after the tweet, the first allegation was made against Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, leading him to being sentenced to sixty years in federal prison on child pornography charges. A week and a half later, Anthony Rapp made allegations against actor Kevin Spacey saying that the actor made sexual advances towards him when he was fourteen. A week later, the Washington Post published allegations against Alabaman Senate candidate Roy Moore detailing his advances towards underaged girls, which eventually cost him victory in the race. Later, on December 6, Time Magazine, in honor of the movement, made the victims of assault and harassment 2017’s Person of the Year, and the day afterwards, Democratic Senator Al Franken resigned his post after mounting allegations of sexual misconduct. A month afterwards, at the start of the start of the new year, over 300 women working in Hollywood formed the anti-harassment coalition Times Up, which was recognized by many stars at this year’s Golden Globes Awards. At the end of the January, on the 20th, the nation recognized the anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump with a Second Annual Women’s March modeled on the one conducted last year in response to the suggestive comments by and assault allegations against the president. In the end, though the scale of abuse and harassment brought to light by the Me Too movement has been horrific, the movement is inarguably a major step towards the assurance of a safe workplace for men and women free of sexual harassment.
@Alyssa_Milano. “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Twitter, 15 Oct. 2017, 1:21 pm., https://twitter.com/alyssa_milano/status/919659438700670976?lang=en
Codrea-Rado, Anna. “#Me Too Floods Social Media with Stories of Harassment and Assault.” The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/technology/metoo-twitter-facebook.html. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
“Harvey Weinstein timeline: How the scandal unfolded.” BBC News, 12 Feb. 2018. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41594672. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
Johnson, Christen A. and Hawbaker, KT. “#MeToo: A timeline of events.” Chicago Tribune, 6 Feb. 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-me-too-timeline-20171208-htmlstory.html. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
Kantor, Jodi and Twohey, Megan. “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/harvey-weinstein-harassment-allegations.html. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.