TIME magazine on Wednesday named “the silence breakers” — representing people who came forward to report sexual misconduct — as its Person of the Year. The movement is closely associated with the #MeToo hashtag which sprang up as allegations emerged against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. 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 C.K. and former NBC anchor Matt Lauer. But TIME said the hashtag was “part of the picture, but not all of it”.
TIME’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal announced the pick on Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today” show. “This is the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades,” he said. “This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries,” TIME’s story said. “These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.”
President Trump was the runner-up for Person of the Year. Chinese President Xi Jinping came in third. TIME has identified the Person of the Year for nearly a century, recognizing 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.