Harvey Weinstein scandal prompts #metoo trend
By Syeda Sameeha, Staff Writer
On Oct. 5, The New York Times published an investigation revealing dozens of sexual harassment claims against the film producer and businessman Harvey Weinstein, dating all the way back to 1990. What followed was many more women such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie coming forward with accusations of harassment against Weinstein, an audio tape published by the New Yorker magazine online of Weinstein admitting to groping, Weinstein being fired from his company, Weinstein Company, and his removal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
While the Weinstein case is ongoing, it has sparked national conversations on sexual harassment and how we combat it. In the wake of this scandal, Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted out “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” In a post Milano wrote, “If all women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed wrote ‘me too’ in their statuses, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” #MeToo quickly became a trending topic on social media, with over 25, 000 responses.
According to Huffington Post, the #MeToo movement was first started by Tarana Burke, an activist in 2007 when she told Ebony magazine about her movement to reach sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities such as people of color.
In an interview with CBS News, Burke said, “‘Me Too’ started, not as a hashtag, but as a campaign from an organization that I founded: Just Be Inc. Empowerment through empathy was the thing that I felt helped me, was that other survivors who empathize with my situation help me to feel like I wasn’t alone and gave me entry to my healing journey.”
The ‘MeToo’ movement was criticized by some, saying if women of color had come out with such accusations, there wouldn’t have been the same outrage.
Burke agreed that it was true. “People of color are usually the last to be supported in these types of situations because of racism, because of oppression, because the way the system works in this country.” In the CBS interview, Burke pointed to Lupita Nyong, the latest actress to come out against Weinstein with harassment claims as, “evidence that this happens across the board,” and that, “these people who are predators, prey on everybody.”