Time magazine names ‘silence breakers’ as person of the year

Movement aimed at raising awareness about sexual harassment epitomised by #MeToo

Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual feature on the cover

Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual feature on the cover

 

Time magazine has named “silence breakers” and the social movement aimed at raising awareness about sexual harassment and assault as the most influential “person” in 2017, the publication announced on Wednesday.

“This is the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women - and some men, too - who came forward to tell their own stories,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told NBC’s “Today” program, referring to them as “the silence breakers.”

Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual feature on the cover of the magazine.

In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and dozens of other men, millions worldwide have shared their stories about being sexually harassed and assaulted.

The movement began spontaneously in October after actress-activist Alyssa Milano followed up on a suggestion from a friend of a friend on Facebook and tweeted: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

The hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours. The #MeToo movement was founded by activist Tarana Burke on Twitter a decade ago to raise awareness about sexual violence.

Time’s announcement was made on NBC’s Today show, where longtime host Matt Lauer was fired last week amid harassment allegations.

Today host Savannah Guthrie acknowledged that this year’s winner hits “close to home” and mentioned Lauer by name.

The two runners-up were Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, himself accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Time magazine said last month that President Trump was “incorrect” when he claimed to have taken a “pass” on an interview and “major photo shoot” because the publication told him he was only “probably” going to be named its person of the year.

– Agencies

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