#MeToo is a hashtag campaign that circulated on Twitter and other social media platforms in which actress Alyssa Milano encouraged survivors of sexual assault and harassment to post "#MeToo" or "Me Too" to raise awareness and highlight its commonality.
On October 15th, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a note, which asked for victims of sexual harassment and assault to write 'me too' as a reply to her tweet (seen below). She wrote, "Me too. Suggested by a friend: 'If all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too.' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.'" The tweet was posted in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations which included sexual assault testimonies from other Hollywood actresses earlier in the month. Within one day the post received more than 38,000 comments, 13,000 retweets and 27,000 likes.
The Me Too project was founded by activist Tarana Burke in 2007. Burke started the campaign to serve sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities.
Within hours of posting, the hashtag was the top trending topic on twitter, where many other users, including celebrities and other public figures, were tweeting their own #metoo stories (seen below). The post also quickly made their way over to Facebook where over 70,000 users had posting under the #MeToo topic within 12 hours.
Coverage of the hashtag was subsequently done by online news organizations including: CNN, heavy., and the Huffington Post. Many of these publications noted the connection between the topic and the Harvey Weinstein scandal. On October 15th, Twitter published a Moments page on the hashtag, which received more than 4,000 likes in 24 hours.
#HowIWillChange / #IveDoneThat
On October 16th, 2017, writer Benjamin Law started the "#HowIWillChange hashtag when he tweeted "Guys, it's our turn. After yesterday's endless #MeToo stories of women being abused, assaulted and harassed, today we say #HowIWillChange."
The hashtag was intended to encourage men to share how they will work to change male culture and support women, and quickly, men joined in by saying they would work to be better male allies, i.e. learning more about women's issues instead of expecting women to explain it to them, etc. (examples shown below)
Another hashtag that spread around this time was #IveDoneThat, in which men admitted to the harassing and toxic behaviors they've engaged in in the past (examples shown below).
While the hashtags found men accepting responsibility for their previous behaviors, they did not sit well with everyone. Some women found that the hashtags were potentially a way for men to perform ally-ship without having to put in the work they promised to do, while others found that it shifted the dialogue back to men (examples shown below). The entire dialogue was covered by The Daily Dot.
On November 11th, 2017, Instagram user and poet Isobel O'Hare posted an edited version of Kevin Spacey's sexual assault apology with certain words redacted to highlight the numerous times he said "him." The post (shown below) received more than 150 likes in one week.
Over the next week, O'Hare edited numerous apology letters, including Jeremy Piven (below, left), Richard Dreyfus (below, center) and Louis C.K. (below, right).
Time Magazine "Person of the Year"
On December 6th, 2017, Time announced that the "Person of the Year" was selected for members of the #MeToo movement referred to as the "Silence Breakers" (shown below).
That day, a segment about the Time issue were held on the shows Morning Joe on MSNBC and Today on NBC (shown below). Meanwhile, several posts about the announcement reached the front page of various subreddits, including /r/news, /r/TwoXChromosomes and /r/politics. Meanwhile, a Twitter Moments page was created featuring notable reactions to the announcement on the social networking site.
On January 1st, 2018, over 300 women in Hollywood unveiled the #TimesUp movement, an initiative to end sexual harassment and abuse in work environments. They announced the movement via an Instagram post that has gained over 6,800 likes in one day.
The movement, which has the support of major Hollywood celebrities including Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, and many more, intends to focus on victims of harassment and abuse in less-visible industries than Hollywood. A legal defense fund created by the movement which will provide subsidies for victims of harassment has gained over $13 million via a GoFundMe.  The movement also has a website where one can either donate to the fund or receive updates from the movement via a newsletter. The announcement of the movement was covered by Daily Dot, The New York Times, CNN, and more.
Jennifer Lopez's #MeToo Story
On January 7th, 2018, Jennifer Lopez published a video on Instagram of a speech she delivered in Puerto Rico. In the video (shown below) she says that she is wearing black in solidarity with the women at the Golden Globes dressed in black to bring awareness to the #TimesUp movement. Within three months, the post received more than 11 million views and 726,000 likes.
Three months later, Harper's Bazaar published an interview with Jennifer Lopez. In the interview, when asked about her participation in the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, she said:
I haven’t been abused in the way some women have. But have I been told by a director to take off my shirt and show my boobs? Yes, I have. But did I do it? No, I did not. When I did speak up, I was terrified. I remember my heart beating out of my chest, thinking, ‘What did I do? This man is hiring me!’ It was one of my first movies. But in my mind I knew the behavior wasn’t right. It could have gone either way for me. But I think ultimately the Bronx in me was like, ‘Nah, we’re not having it.’"
Tony Robbins #MeToo Comments
In mid-March 2018, during Tony Robbins's "Unleash the Power" self-help event, Robbins was filmed making comments about the MeToo movement (shown below). He said, "If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else… all you’ve done is basically use a drug called ‘significance’ to make yourself feel good."
After his comments, a woman named Nanine McCool stood up and accused Robbins of mischaracterizing the movement by claiming that women were using it for personal gain. Robbins disagreed and said that he is for the movement for people who are using it "correctly." However, he believes that the movement emphasizes "victimhood." To prove his point, he pushed McCool with his fist to the back of the stadium. He believes that pushing back does not make a situation more safe.
Robbins went on to describe a convseration with one of his "very power friends" about the problems they saw within the MeToo movement. He said, "I was just with someone the other day, very famous man, very powerful man,” he said. “He’s saying how stressed he is because he interviewed three people that day--one was a woman, two were men. The woman was better qualified, but she was very attractive, and he knew, ‘I can’t have her around, because it’s too big of a risk.’ And he hired somebody else. I’ve had a dozen men tell me this.”
The event took place between March 15th and March 19th, but on April 6th, the NowThis news Twitter feed shared the footage. They captioned it, "Life coach Tony Robbins says women are using #MeToo to make themselves 'significant' -- but this brave sexual abuse survivor called him out." The post (shown below) received more than 12,000 retweets and 27,000 likes in three days.
The following day, Tarana Burke, the founder of MeToo tweeted, "I was made aware of this video BEFORE I ever saw it because Tony Robbins people reached out to do damage control within 24 hours. They wanted to 'give me context' apparently. I don’t need any. I have eyes. The full video is 11 mins. And it’s gross. Bravo to this woman." The post (shown below, left) received more than 22,000 retweets and 61,000 likes in two days.
Twitter user @cmclymer tweeted, "1. This woman is awesome. 2. Tony Robbins is a snake oil salesman.3. I guaran-damn-tee he made up that anecdote." The post (shown below, center) received more than 600 retweets and 3,200 likes in two days.
On April 8th, Tony Robbins posted an apology for the comments on his Facebook page. He said, "I apologize for suggesting anything other than my profound admiration for the #MeToo movement. Let me clearly say, I agree with the goals of the #MeToo movement and its founding message of “empowerment through empathy,” which makes it a beautiful force for good."
Lindsay Lohan's #MeToo Comments
On August 4th, 2018, Lindsay Lohan gave an interview to The Times of London during which she criticized the #MeToo movement. She said that while she is "very supportive of women," she "can't go along with the 'attention-seekers' or trial by social media." She continued:
If it happens at that moment, you discuss it at that moment. You make it a real thing by making it a police report. I'm going to really hate myself for saying this, but I think by women speaking against all these things, it makes them look weak when they are very strong women. You have these girls who come out, who don't even know who they are, who do it for the attention. That is taking away from the fact that it happened.
Her comments spurred a backlash against Lohan. People online chastised Lohan for the remarks, saying that they would no longer support Lohan's projects, refuting her arguments that women look "weak" for coming forward (examples below).
Casey Affleck's Apology
On August 9th, 2018, Casey Affleck spoke to the Associated Press about the allegations of sexual misconduct that were lodged toward him in 2017. In response to questions about two civil lawsuits from the making of his film I’m Still Here, he said:
First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. I wish I had found a way to resolve things in a different way. I hate that. I had never had any complaints like that made about me before in my life and it was really embarrassing and I didn’t know how to handle it and I didn’t agree with everything, the way I was being described, and the things that were said about me, but I wanted to try to make it right, so we made it right in the way that was asked at the time. And we all agreed to just try to put it behind us and move on with our lives, which I think we deserve to do, and I want to respect them as they’ve respected me and my privacy. And that’s that.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been listening a lot to this conversation, this public conversation, and learned a lot. I kind of moved from a place of being defensive to one of a more mature point of view, trying to find my own culpability. And once I did that I discovered there was a lot to learn. I was a boss. I was one of the producers on the set. This movie was (shot in 2008, 2009) and I was one of the producers. And it was a crazy mockumentary, (a) very unconventional movie. The cast was the crew and the crew was kind of the cast and it was an unprofessional environment and, you know, the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that and that was a mistake. And I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people and I wish that I hadn’t. And I regret a lot of that. I really did not know what I was responsible for as the boss. I don’t even know if I thought of myself as the boss. But I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I’m sorry.
The reaction to his comments were mixed. Some found that his responses were a great model for others to take when met with these types of allegations, while others say that he should not be forgiven so easily. Twitter user @kateyrich tweeted (shown below, left), "Casey Affleck’s post-Me Too mea culpa/get out ahead of Oscar campaign for Old Man and the Gun interview is the model all others should follow." While @Ceilidhann tweeted (shown below, center), "It sure is nice that Casey Affleck is saying all the right things about #MeToo after he & his PR team ran a ruthless Oscar campaign that shut down vague mentions of sexual harassment, then went silent long enough until the first steps of industry backlash hit the movement, eh?"
Twitter user @jessicaesquire tweeted (shown below, right), "I do not want to give this guy a cookie by any means, but it would be nice for men to realize there is another way to talk about these issues without being a total asshole."
On August 19th, 2018, The New York Times published an article titled "Asia Argento, a #MeToo Leader, Made a Deal With Her Own Accuser," which reported that the Italian actress "quietly arranged" a payment of $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett, who claimed Argento sexually assaulted him when he was 17-years-old and she was 37. Additionally, the article included embeds of Argento's Instagram photos taken with Bennett (shown below).
On August 20th, posts about the article reached the front page of the /r/movies, /r/news and /r/notheonion subreddits. Meanwhile, Twitter published a Moments page highlighting various reactions to the news.
MeToo Redemption Television Series
On April 25th, 2018, writer and women's advocate Tina Brown confirmed to the New York Post that an unnamed producer is shopping a television show hosted by Charlie Rose, a talkshow host who's career ended after he was accused of sexual harassment, in which he interviews men high-profile men who had their careers upended by the #MeToo movement, including Louis C.K., Matt Lauer and more.
Many reacted negatively to the news. On Twitter, many discussed how they found it offensive that the perpetrators, not the victims, be given a television show to discuss how they feel. Twitter user @RVAwonk tweeted, "What about the show where we hear from all the women whose careers were derailed by Charlie Rose & men like him? …and the women who didn't pursue the careers they wanted to because of men like Charlie Rose? …and the women whose lives were destroyed by men like Charlie Rose?" The post (shown below, left) received more than 2,300 retweets and 5,700 likes in 24 hours.
Throughout the day, more people posted their disapproval of the idea. Twitter published a Moments page based on the reaction to the television series.
Sean Penn's Comments
On September 17th, 2018, actor Sean Penn appeared on the Today Show in which he discussed the #MeToo movement. He said, "This is a movement that was, you know, largely shouldered by a kind of receptacle of the salacious […] the spirit of much of what has been the #MeToo movement is to divide men and women.” The video (shown below) received more than 250 retweets and 950 likes in 250 retweets and 950 likes in 24 hours.
Many online disagreed with Penn's assertion. Twitter user @jimchines tweeted, "Or maybe it's a way to unite decent men and women against sexual predators and harassment." The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 9,700 likes in 24 hours.
Twitter user @freeblackgirl tweeted, "Please stop asking actors, especially those accused of domestic abuse, about #MeToo unless you’re prepared to challenge or push them. Otherwise, you’re giving credence to the idea that there are two equally-as-valid sides to this issue. There’s not." The tweet (shown below, center) received more than 2,000 retweets and 7,100 likes in 24 hours.
Comedian Whitney Cummings tweeted, "Hey Sean Penn, #metoo isn’t about 'dividing men and women.' Spacey preyed on boys, @terrycrews was assaulted by a man, and 100,000 boys worldwide have been assaulted by male priests. This is about any kind of abuse of power. Bye, dude." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 2,100 retweets and 11,000 likes in 24 hours.
Twitter Moments – How 'me too' is showing the magnitude of sexual assault
The Daily Dot – Through erasure, a poet deconstructs the celebrity apology
New York Times – Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Action Plan
The New York Post – Tina Brown says she was pitched Charlie Rose comeback show
The New York Times – Asia Argento a #MeToo Leader Made a Deal With Her Own Accuser
The Daily Dot – Twitter doesn’t want to hear Sean Penn’s opinion on #MeToo
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