A press article, a viral tweet: the #MeToo explosion

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Washington (AFP) – In October 2017, the New York Times published an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the hitherto untouchable Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The floodgates of the #MeToo movement have just opened.

On October 5, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, two journalists from the New York daily, reveal what was known to many in the film world but was the subject of omerta: the producer offered to help the career of women for sexual favors, attempted to massage several of them in hotel rooms, forced them to watch him naked, and used his power to silence them.

The two journalists had been working on the subject for months, deploying treasures of patience and ingenuity to convince actresses to speak.

Faced with the scandal, it only took a few days after the publication of the article for Harvey Weinstein to be fired from the company that bears his name.

He tries to “sincerely” apologize, explaining that he grew up and matured in the 1960s and 1970s when “rules about behavior and workplaces were different”.

His lawyers strive for their part to minimize the facts. But the movement is on, and the fall of this once all-powerful man, who organized fundraisers for Democrats like Hillary Clinton, is dizzying.

On October 10, another article follows, in the New Yorker magazine this time, signed by Ronan Farrow, who also spent several months investigating.

Italian actress Ansia Argento and two other women claim to have been raped there by the co-founder of the Miramax studio.

As the days go by, tongues loosen. One by one, leading actresses bring their testimony or their support to the victims.

The gunpowder fire

Then on October 15, a tweet from actress Alyssa Milano ended up lighting the fuse on social networks.

She too read the avalanche of articles that followed the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.

“If you have been harassed or sexually assaulted, write + me too + (me too, editor’s note) in response to this tweet”, writes the star of “Charmed”.

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There followed a deluge of testimonies from almost all walks of life. Many say they are sharing their experience in public for the first time.

In the wake of the Weinstein affair, the hashtag is spreading around the world: #quellavoltache (this time when) in Italy, #EnaZeda (me too) in Tunisia, #AnaKaman in Egypt.

Alyssa Milano helped ignite the movement, but the original #MeToo was created eleven years earlier, in 2006, by African-American activist Tarana Burke.

The latter had begun to use this expression of “empathy” as a way for victims of sexual violence, especially in marginalized communities, to establish a connection between them and to say it out loud to the world.

“At first, I panicked,” admitted Tarana Burke when she saw her slogan taken up on the networks. “I felt terrified, because something that was part of my life’s work was going to be co-opted and taken away from me and used for purposes I hadn’t originally intended.”

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Alyssa Milano, reportedly unaware of the genesis of the phrase, quickly gave the activist back what was hers.

“What the MeToo campaign really does, and what Tarana Burke has enabled all of us to do, is put the focus back on the victims,” ​​she said in an interview with the show. Good Morning America.

“It’s only the beginning. It’s not a moment, it’s a movement”, insisted Tarana Burke, Alyssa Milano at her side, in 2017 during the Today Show.

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced in 2020 to 23 years in prison for sexual assault and rape. Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Ronan Farrow have all brought home the highly prestigious Pulitzer Prize to their media.

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A press article, a viral tweet: the #MeToo explosion