After all the recent buzz about who Time magazine would be naming its “Person of the Year,” and President Donald Trump claiming he turned the title down, the publication has revealed that it’s actually honoring multiple persons of the year.
The group has been dubbed the “silence breakers” and includes a list of women and men who have championed the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and the many claims against Hollywood men that followed.
Ironically enough, the announcement was made Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show, which just fired former host Matt Lauer for his own sexual misconduct.
"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 said on the "Today" show.
According to CBS News, Twitter confirmed at the end of October that 1.7 million tweets had included the #MeToo hashtag with 85 countries each having at least 1,000 “Me Too” tweets.
“This moment is borne of a very real and potent sense of unrest,” Time noted in its Person of the Year cover story. “Yet it doesn’t have a leader, or a single, unifying tenet. The hashtag #metoo (swiftly adapted into #BalanceTonPorc, #YoTambien, #Ana_kaman and many others), which to date has provided an umbrella of solidarity for millions of people to come forward with their stories, is part of the picture, but not all of it.”
One of the honorees featured in the story is the woman who started the “Me Too” movement several years ago, Tarana Burke.
“'Me Too' started, not as a hashtag, but as a campaign from an organization that I founded: Just Be Inc.," Burke told CBS News in October. "And 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 campaign became a viral hashtag after actress Alyssa Milano, who is also featured in the magazine, used it as a call to action on Twitter.
“If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote.
The hashtag was tweeted nearly 1 million times in 48 hours.
There was some discrepancy, however, with Milano receiving criticism — particularly from black women — for not properly crediting Burke as the creator of the movement and seemingly passing it off as her own. Alas, Milano eventually gave credit where it was due in a television interview and on Twitter.
I appreciate your support love, but she has given me credit. On twitter and on television. 💕— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) November 21, 2017
Some of the other “silence breakers” include actresses Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, and Selma Blair, as well as Oregon Sen. Sara Gelser, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, singer Taylor Swift, and even male actor Terry Crews, who was one of few men to break his silence about being sexually harassed by a Hollywood heavyweight in front of his own wife.
While Time's effort to praise these survivors and crusaders is important, some people still find the cover problematic as it seems to perpetuate the notion that this issue only became prominent after more white women spoke out. Case in point: Swift — who won a lawsuit against a DJ who groped her earlier this year — has a spot on the front cover, while Burke, the true face of the entire decade-long movement, is only profiled inside.
Nevertheless, one thing that is evident is the brilliance behind Time's slap in the face to groper-in-chief, Trump, who is likely seething at the fact that sexual assault survivors are being given this platform while the many accusations against him continue to loom.