Saturday 15 December 2018

'Silence Breakers' named 'Time' Person of the Year

The Silence Breakers' Time cover
The Silence Breakers' Time cover

Dominic Klein

'The Silence Breakers' - those who have shared their stories about sexual assault and harassment - have been named 'Time' magazine's Person of the Year.

Numerous women have spoken out since October about sexual misconduct by dozens of high-profile men in entertainment, media, business and sport. 'Time' praised those who had given "voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks on to social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable".

The magazine's cover features Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift and others who said they had been harassed.

The 'Time' announcement was made on NBC's 'Today' show, where longtime host Matt Lauer was fired last week amid harassment allegations.

US film producer Harvey Weinstein
US film producer Harvey Weinstein

'Today' host Savannah Guthrie acknowledged that this year's winner hit "close to home" and mentioned Lauer by name.

Women who spoke out, initially against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and then others, helped to spawn the #MeToo movement, with millions of people telling stories of sexual misconduct on social media.

The tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts began after actress-activist Alyssa Milano followed up on a suggestion from a friend of a friend on Facebook and tweeted: "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet."

The hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours.

#MeToo was actually founded by activist Tarana Burke a decade ago to raise awareness about sexual violence.

Milano has said she was not aware of Burke's contributions when she made her initial tweet and has since publicly credited her.

The pair appeared together yesterday on the 'Today' show.

"This is just the start. I've been saying from the beginning it's not just a moment, it's a movement," Ms Burke said.

"Now the work really begins."

Milano said: "As women, we have to support each other and stand together and say, 'That's it. We're done. No more'.

"It's vital to me that we really set in some actionable things that we can do to continue this momentum."

The two runners-up were Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, himself accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Trump, Person of the Year in 2016, had tweeted recently that the magazine had told him he "probably" would be honoured again if he agreed to an interview and photo shoot.

The president added that he "took a pass".

'Time' has disputed his account.

Irish Independent

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