NEW YORK – The “silence breakers” – the women behind this year’s #MeToo movement against sexual harassment – have been named as Time magazine’s 2017 person of the year.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief revealed the cover on NBC’s “TODAY” show, saying one of the women shown only partially on the cover is someone Time spoke to but “doesn’t feel that she can come forward without threatening her livelihood.”
— TIME (@TIME) December 6, 2017
Felsenthal called the #MeToo movement the “fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades.”
“And it began by individual acts of courage by hundreds of women, and some men, too, who came forward to tell their stories of harassment and assault,” he added.
Social activist Tarana Burke created the “me too” movement a decade ago to help sexual assault survivors in disadvantaged communities.
Actress Alyssa Milano was one of the first high-profile women to use the “me too” hashtag this year after several actresses came forward with allegations of sexual assault against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” she wrote on Twitter in October.
Weinstein has repeatedly denied any allegations of “nonconsensual sex.”
The five featured on the Time cover are actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler, California lobbyist who Adama Iwu, and strawberry picker Isabel Pascual. They all who went public with the stories of sexual harassment they said they faced in the workplace.
“The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe,” Time said in its story about the cover.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet took to Twitter to appreciate the ‘Silence Breakers’.
“Great recognition from Time magazine to a group of courageous women who this year decided to break the silence! I sincerely hope that 2017 mark a global cultural change on the eradication of violence that affects us,” the president said in her tweet (in Spanish).
¡Gran reconocimiento de la revista Time a un grupo de valientes mujeres que este año decidieron romper el silencio! Espero, sinceramente, que 2017 marque un cambio cultural mundial en la erradicación de la violencia que nos afecta. https://t.co/0oTuiy0iiq
— Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) December 6, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping were named as the second and third most influential people, respectively.
Time has identified the Person of the Year for nearly a century, recognizing the person or group most influencing the news.
Others who had been cited include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bill and Melinda Gates.
But being named person of the year is not an endorsement. The list includes Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.