Time’s Person of the Year: ‘Silence Breakers’ speaking out against sexual harassment
Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers” — women who triggered a #MeToo national outcry over sexual harassment — as the 2017 “Person of the Year.”
The magazine said President Trump was runner-up for the top title, while Chinese President Xi Jinping was third on the list.
Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal revealed the cover on Wednesday morning’s Today show, which features Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler and a woman whose face is obscured, intended to represent the women who haven’t yet come forward.
“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, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment and assault,” Felsenthal said. “The image you see partially on the cover is of a woman we talked to, a hospital worker in the middle of the country who shared her story with us and some others but doesn’t feel like she can come forward without threatening her livelihood.”
The Today show, which recently experienced its own harassment scandal that ousted former anchor Matt Lauer, also hosted actress Alyssa Milano and #MeToo creator Tarana Burke to talk about the cover, both of whom have spoken out about their own experiences with sexual misconduct
“This is the just the start, and I’ve been saying from the beginning that it’s not just a moment, it’s a movement,” Burke said.
Harvey Weinstein, whose scandal jump-started 2017’s months of reckoning over sexual harassment, looms large over the Time list, with Judd, one of the more than 80 women who have accused him of assault and sexual harassment, featured in the story. Also included is Selma Blair, who accused director James Toback of misconduct, with Swift speaking out against Denver radio DJ David Mueller whom she prevailed over in court this summer.
“When the jury found in my favor, the man who sexually assaulted me was court-ordered to give me a symbolic $1,” Swift told Time in an emailed interview, “To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself.”
Time’s list cuts across the entertainment, media, tech and service industries, including an unnamed housekeeper at the Plaza hotel.
It was the 91st year that the magazine has recognized the person or group of people who most influenced the news during the past year.
The shortlist included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Dreamers, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who launched a national protest against racism and police brutality, special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Trump caused a stir in the run-up to the selection when he tweeted last month that he turned down a potential offer to be the “person of the Year” after he was told only that he would “probably” be given the title.
“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY 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,” Trump tweeted from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
The magazine disputed the account, saying that the president is “incorrect about how we choose Person of the year.”
“Time does not comment on our choice until publication,” a spokeswoman told CNN.