Time’s Person of the Year: #MeToo Silence Breakers

Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers” — women who triggered a #MeToo national outcry over sexual harassment — as the 2017 “Person of the Year.”

Time 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 Wednesday morning on the Today show, that features Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler and a woman whose face is obscured, which is supposed to represent the women who haven’t come forward yet. Felsenthal saying:

“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. 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 recently experienced its own harassment scandal that ousted former anchor Matt Lauer. Wednesday morning, the show 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. Burke saying:

“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.”

Harvey Weinstein, whose scandal jump-started 2017’s 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. Taylor Swift also included speaking out against Denver radio DJ David Mueller who she took to court and won this summer. Swift told Time in an emailed interview:

“When the jury found in my favor, the man who sexually assaulted me was court-ordered to give me a symbolic $1. To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself.”

It’s 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
  • Special prosecutor Robert Mueller
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Trump caused a stir in the run-up to the selection when he tweeted last month 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. Trump tweeted from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida:

“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.”

Time disputed the account, saying that the president is “incorrect about how we choose Person of the year.”

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