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Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ – who ARE the silence breakers?

Time magazine has released its ‘Person Of The Year’, and the decision is worlds apart from what President Trump tweeted on November 24.

Instead, the magazine chose “The Silence Breakers”: referring to the women who have spearheaded a movement for women and men to speak up about sexual harassment and assault. On the cover, there are six women: Actor Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, corporate lobbyist Adama Iwu, and Mexican strawberry-picker Isabel Pascual.


Many more were featured as being part of the moment, and one of them is Tarana Burke, who is an advocate for sexual assault victims. She notably created the Me Too mantra, and this was picked up by actor Alyssa Milano (also listed as a ‘Silence Breaker’) who urged people to share their experiences on Twitter. #MeToo has now been hashtagged over 825,000 times, and it has been translated into #BalanceTonPorc, #YoTambien, and #Ana_kaman.

The magazine’s editor in chief Edward Felsenthal told the Todayshow that the #MeToo movement represented the “fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by women and some men too.”

[The #MeToo movement] represented the fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by women and some men too.

The Me Too movement was spearheaded after a string of harassment allegations against numerous Hollywood stars. Over 50 women have made allegations against Harvey Weinstein, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, Lupita Nyong’o, and Ashley Judd (featured on the cover).

Other noted men that have faced sexual harassment claims this year can’t even be listed in one breath: Ed Westwick, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Danny Masterson, Brett Ratner, Bryan Singer, Steven Seagal, John Lasseter, Louis C.K., John Travolta, Jeremy Piven, George Takaei, Matt Lower, Jeffrey Tambor, and James Toback have all had allegations made against them. Toback, the independent film director, was accused by Selma Blair for making her strip for him in his hotel room. She told Time “I had heard from others that he was slandering me, saying these sexual things about me, and it just made me even more afraid of him.” Blair was listed as one of Time‘s “Silence Breakers”.


Radio DJ David Mueller groped Taylor Swift during a photo op in 2013. She reported him to his radio station, KYGO, and he was terminated. He said her accusations were false and sued Swift. She countersued for $1 and won. “When I testified, I had already had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team, including my mother … I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forgo any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me … Why should I be polite? I’m told it was the most amount of times the word ass has ever been said in Colorado federal court.” (Mueller’s lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) @taylorswift is among the Silence Breakers, TIME’s Person of the Year. Read the full story on Photograph by Billy & Hells for TIME. #TIMEPOY

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Taylor Swift was one of the more famous faces on the cover. She complained about Denver radio DJ David Mueller for reaching under her skirt, who was then fired for his actions. He sued Swift for millions, and she responded by countersuing for one dollar and testified about the incident, telling his lawyer: “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault […] I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions. Not mine.”

The unfamiliar women on the cover include those who have spoken out against sexual harassment – Isabel Pascual (who’s name has been changed and is showing only her arm) voiced her experience of being stalked and harassed at a march in LA. She told Time: “It doesn’t matter if they criticize me. I can support other people who are going through the same thing.”

The final two faces on the cover are Susan Fowler and Adama Iwu. Susan wrote a blog post about her experiences of harassment as an engineer at Uber. It went viral and led an investigation, ending in the departure of CEO Travis Kalanick, and over 20 other employees. Adama invited 147 women to sign an open letter to Californa’s capital, launching a state-senate investigation. She said “Young women told me about the same men who harassed me years ago. […] But you have to address it head on and as a group. We can’t all be crazy. We can’t all be sluts.”

Glamour International