NEW YORK: Time magazine has named the social movement aimed at raising awareness about sexual harassment and assault, epitomised by the #MeToo social media hashtag, as the most influential 'person' in 2017.
'The Silence Breakers' designates a broad range of people, mostly women, from this year's first public accusers of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to those who shared their stories of abuse using the hashtag #MeToo and its foreign language equivalents.
After The New York Times and The New Yorker published accusations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein, many more women and some men came forward with allegations against others - including actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis CK and former NBC anchor Matt Lauer.
In its write up, the magazine wrote, "It became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage. The actor who went public with the story of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s “coercive bargaining” in a Beverly Hills hotel suite two decades earlier. The strawberry picker who heard that story and decided to tell her own. The young engineer whose blog post about the frat-boy culture at Silicon Valley’s highest-flying startup prompted the firing of its founder and 20 other employees. The California lobbyist whose letter campaign spurred more than 140 women in politics to demand that state government “no longer tolerate the perpetrators or enablers” of sexual misconduct. A music superstar’s raw, defiant court testimony about the disc jockey who groped her."
"The galvanising actions of the women on our cover - Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual - along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. Social media acted as a powerful accelerant, the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries...," it adds.
"The year, at its outset, did not seem to be a particularly auspicious one for women. A man who had bragged on tape about sexual assault took the oath of the highest office in the land, having defeated the first woman of either party to be nominated for that office, as she sat beside a former President with his own troubling history of sexual misconduct. While polls from the 2016 campaign revealed the predictable divisions in American society, large majorities - including women who supported Donald Trump - said Trump had little respect for women," the magazine further says.
US President Donald Trump, who was Time`s person of the year in 2016, is the first runner-up this year, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Felsenthal said.
Other finalists included US Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the election that Trump won, North Korean President Kim Jong Un, 'Wonder Woman' director Patty Jenkins and football player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick.
'Time' has identified the Person of the Year for nearly a century, recognising the person or group of people who most influenced the news.
Others who had been cited in previous years by the magazine include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bill and Melinda Gates.
(With Agency inputs)