If you think sexual harassment is everywhere, the #MeToo campaign is confirmation. The hashtag has been tweeted half a million times in the past 24 hours, a Twitter spokeswoman said Monday. It was started Sunday by actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged people to reply "me, too" to her tweet about being a victim of sexual harassment or assault as a way to show how pervasive the problem is.
Other famous people who have chimed in with #MeToo on Twitter include singer Lady Gaga, who has written a song about sexual assault, as well as actresses Gabrielle Union and Evan Rachel Wood, who both say they were raped.
Despite originating on Twitter, the hashtag has been even more widespread on Facebook, which simply has more users.
"In less than 24 hours, 4.7 million people around the world have engaged in the "Me Too" conversation on Facebook," said a Facebook spokeswoman Monday, "with over 12 million posts, comments, and reactions." She said 45 percent of people in the United States are friends with people who posted #MeToo.
The famous people who posted about #MeToo on Facebook include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, author Jessica Valenti and poet Rupi Kaur.
The spotlight on sexual harassment has become more intense after recent revelations of numerous sexual-harassment and rape allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. So far, he has been forced out of the movie company he co-founded, is being investigated by authorities, was booted out of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and is being stripped of France's highest honor.
One of the actresses who long ago reached a settlement with Weinstein, Rose McGowan, now alleges he raped her. She was talking about Weinstein on Twitter last week when she was briefly banned from the social network. The company says she tweeted out a private phone number, which violated its rules. The backlash to Twitter's temporary silencing of McGowan led to a daylong Twitter boycott by women -- and some men -- Friday.
The #MeToo campaign is just the latest example of hashtag activism, and its effectiveness is already being debated. But no one can deny that it brings even more attention to the harassment and abuse that women from all walks of life, in many different industries, are facing.
For example, the tech industry is inundated with such scandals. Here are some figures in the world of tech who have been accused or forced to resign this year:
The Amazon Studios chief was suspended last week after Isa Hackett, a producer on one of the studio's well-known shows, "The Man in the High Castle," accused him of sexual harassment. The news coincided with McGowan's accusation that she told Price about her history with Weinstein and that he was dismissive of her claims.
Amazon Senior VP of Business Development Jeff Blackburn acknowledged the controversy in a Friday email to employees, which was obtained by BuzzFeed.
"The news coming out of Hollywood over the past week has been shocking and disturbing -- and unfortunately we are a part of it," Blackburn wrote. He said Price is "on leave of absence for an indefinite period of time."
Amazon Studios also has cut ties with the Weinstein Co.
The most high-profile sexual harassment scandal in tech involves Uber, the once high-flying ride-hailing startup whose co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, resigned from the top spot in June. His exit from the San Francisco company came after a firestorm sparked by a blog post by Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer who says she was sexually harassed by her superiors while at Uber, and that management failed to take action. She also said sexism was rampant in Uber's culture. Kalanick's leaked emails, in which he referred to employees possibly having sex while on a company trip, didn't help matters.
The co-founder of San Francisco-based Binary Capital, a venture capital firm, stepped down in June after being accused of sexual harassment by six different women. The allegations include grabbing one woman's thigh under a table; offering another woman a position at a company he was considering funding; and sending another explicit text messages.
At the end of June, the former "Shark Tank" investor published an essay the day before the revelation of a sexual harassment accusation against him in a New York Times report. He admitted to being part of the industry's sexism problem. "I've learned that it's often the less obvious, yet pervasive and questionable, everyday behaviors of men in our industry that collectively make it inhospitable for women," he wrote. "I now understand I personally contributed to the problem."
In July, the CEO of 500 Startups apologized, called himself a creep and quit the Mountain View-based tech incubator he helped launch after the New York Times reported that he had hit on a job candidate he was trying to recruit. He admitted that he had made advances toward multiple women, and said his female co-founder had asked him to resign. Later that month, a reporter alleged that another 500 Startups partner groped her.
Meanwhile, here are scandals in other industries, notably in entertainment and media, that have brought unwelcome attention or serious civil or criminal complaints against powerful men in the past year:
The comedy legend, 80, has been accused by nearly 60 women of sexually abusing them over four decades, often after drugging them. Cosby, who has maintained his innocence, faced trial this spring in the case of one of the women, former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who said Cosby assaulted her at his home near Philadelphia in 2005. He was charged with aggravated indecent assault but a jury deadlocked on a verdict, and judge declared a mistrial. A new trial is expected to take place in 2018.
The beloved film film auteur, 81, faced a possible career-ending scandal when it was learned in 1992 that he had been having an affair with the 20-year-old adopted daughter of his longtime partner Mia Farrow. During a bitter custody battle, his then 7-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, accused him of molesting her. After a police investigation, prosecutors declined to file charges, though they said there was probable cause to arrest him. As much as Allen has strongly denied the allegations, they continue to resurface whenever he has a new movie out or is receiving an honor, notably in 2014 and 2016, when Dylan Farrow and her brother, journalist Ronan Farrow who penned the blockbuster New Yorker investigation on Harvey Weinstein, wrote essays for the New York Times and Hollywood Reporter, respectively, saying that he has never been held accountable.
Over the years, four women have publicly accused the 84-year-old director of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers. His first victim was a 13-year-old girl he was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. He plead guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse and spent 42 days in jail. But when he heard that a judge was going to disregard a plea bargain and give him up to 50 years in prison, Polanski fled to Paris. He has been a fugitive from U.S. justice since. Since then, three women have said he attacked them. The most recent is a former German actress who came forward this month to tell the New York Times she had filed a report with Swiss police, saying Polanski raped her 1972, when she was 15.
The comedian, actor and director has been the subject of "rumors" that he engages in sexually inappropriate behavior with female writers. The rumors hit the mainstream when collaborator Tig Notaro gave an interview with the Daily Beast, in which she said it's time that C.K., 50, addressed these allegations in a serious way and not brush them off. But in a September interview with the New York Times, C.K. evading most questions, saying, "If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real" before he said, "They're rumors. That's all it is."
The Fox News boss, who died in May 18, led the network for two decades before his ouster amid a sexual harassment scandal. Ten women came forward with their personal accounts of harassment, including former Fox News hosts Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. His downfall was swift and he was soon out of a job though with a reported $60 million payout. At least 20 women in all alleged that Ailes subjected them to some form of workplace harassment, the Huffington Post said.
In April, the longtime Fox News host was removed from his primetime spot on the "O'Reilly Factor," following multiple accusations of sexual harassment. He and 21st Century Fox paid five women, who worked for O'Reilly or appeared on his show, a combined $13 million to keep them from pursuing litigation or speaking out about sexual harassment accusations against him, the New York Times reported.
The R&B legend, 50, was charged with statutory rape and child pornography in 2002 after a video surfaced that appeared to show Kelly having sex and urinating on an underage girl. After several delays, Kelly was found not guilty in 2008. In July, Buzzfeed News published a report in which three sets of parents accused him of holding their daughters in a sexually abusive cult. Kelly and the alleged victims deny the allegations.
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