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Two small words. That’s all it took to create a new religion — one that has sparked witch-hunts, ruined reputations and fostered a climate of suspicion that shows no signs of waning.
A week earlier, The New York Times had printed an investigation into the then most powerful man in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein. It accused the movie mogul of being a serial sexual predator who’d been paying off his accusers for decades.
Weinstein - Production - Company - Days
Weinstein resigned from his production company days later.
But, if it were not for Milano’s tweet — from which the hashtag #MeToo was born — his fall from grace, and the ensuing legal case that prompted more accusers to come forward with shocking accusations, might have been the end of it.
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Instead, within a week of Milano’s call to arms, #MeToo had been used 1.7 million times on social media in 85 countries.
It morphed into a global movement raising awareness of sexual harassment and inspired the Time’s Up protests. Soon, its influence was felt beyond the internet and the list of victims — and the accused — grew.
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Household names such as Bill Cosby, convicted of multiple sex crimes, and Kevin Spacey, who remains under investigation, are just two of them.
This month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under scrutiny after journalist Charlotte Edwardes accused him of squeezing her thigh at a lunch 20 years ago — which he denies.
MeToo-ers - Silence - Breakers - Cover - Time
Leading MeToo-ers, lauded as ‘The Silence Breakers’ on the cover of Time Magazine in 2017, boasted that, before #MeToo, women kept silent about the abuse they’d suffered.
While it is true that the movement has made it easier for women — including Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne, plus many thousands more worldwide — to speak out about sexual harassment, I firmly believe that its second birthday is not something to celebrate unquestioningly.
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