TIME magazine has named the #MeToo silence breakers as their 2017 Person of the Year.
Last year the prestigious award was given to then President-Elect Trump and a few weeks ago Trump tweeted the magazine had called again to say he, “PROBABLY [was] going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!”
Instead, for 2017 the magazine has opted to honor the millions of women and men who used the hashtag on social media to out themselves as victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Interestingly, Trump was the first runner-up - primarily for the ways in which he is changing the expected standards of what is means to be president.
As accusations of improper behavior ricocheted across Hollywood, ending forever the careers of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet with the hashtag in order to publicize how common sexual assault and violence is in modern society.
In the United Kingdom, the movement even led to resignations from ministers in the British, Scottish and Welsh Governments and a number of legislators have been suspended by their parties pending investigation into their conduct.
In the words of TIME the tweets, “unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. Social media acted as a powerful accelerant; the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries.”
Amongst the women the magazine hails as part of the movement are a number with Irish ancestry, including Rose McGowan who was reported as having received a $100,000 settlement from Harvey Weinstein.
McGowan has spoken often of her Irish roots and played the part of an IRA operative in the film Fifty Dead Men Walking set during the Troubles.
At the film premiere, she earned praise and condemnation after telling journalists that had she grown up in Belfast not so long ago, “I would 100 percent have been in the IRA. Violence is not to be played out daily and provide an answer to problems, but I understand it."
Another woman is Wendy Walsh who claimed that Bill O’Reilly asked her to go back to his hotel with him her but after she refused he failed to honor a promise to help her get a position as a paid contributor on Fox News.
The allegation - among others - forced the conservative firebrand and Fox News’ most well-known journalist into early retirement after advertisers began to pull sponsorship from the channel.
Also mentioned is former Fox News journalist Megan Kelly who quit the channel to begin working at rival NBC. Kelly said that the channel’s former President, Roger Ailes, tried on three occasions to make out with her, asking menacingly when her contract was up.
“It was explicit quid pro quo sexual harassment, which was basically: You sleep with me, and I'll give you a promotion,” she recalled.
“That feeling I'll never forget — of going in there and having him lock that door.”