Time Person Of The Year: The ‘Silence Breakers,’ Trump Named Runner-Up

KONRAD K./SIPA/SPPFR

Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” is the “silence breakers” who launched the now viral “me too” movement of speaking out against sexual harassment and assault.

The movement has brought down powerful men across the largest industries, like movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, media giants like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer and politicians like Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). At least 50 prominent men have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent weeks, according to the Associated Press. 

Time’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal announced the magazine’s choice on NBC’s “Today” show, which recently fired Lauer, one of its longtime co-hosts for multiple allegations of harassment and assault. Felsenthal said that the “galvanizing actions” of women and many men speaking out has “unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s.”

“The idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year,” he said in a statement shared with TPM.

The cover features singer Taylor Swift, who sued a radio DJ who allegedly groped her during a photo for $1 and won; Ashley Judd, one of the first prominent women who came forward with accusations against Weinstein; Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who spoke out about harassment in the workplace; Adama Iwu, a Visa lobbyist who started a campaign in the California state legislature to unveil harassment; Isabel Pascual, who was stalked and harassed after speaking out about the harassment she was experiencing and whose name was changed to protect her identity; and a woman whose face is hidden, who has anonymously come forward with allegations against her employer.

Time’s 2017 Person of the Year cover, provided by Time, Inc.

President Donald Trump was named “runner up,” a telling blow to the President after he claimed on Twitter a few weeks ago that he had “passed” on being named “Person of the Year” again. Time denied Trump’s claims and said it couldn’t comment on the topic until it had made its announcement. Trump was named Time’s “Person of the Year” last year, after he won the 2016 election.

The President himself has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by at least 13 women, but he has denied all the allegations and has repeatedly called the women “liars.”       

The “me too” movement has permeated through multiple industries across the country in recent weeks, including politics. Not only have two sitting members of Congress been accused of misconduct — prompting one, Conyers, to resign Tuesday — the Senate and the House are now grappling with how to handle news that taxpayers have funded at least $17 million worth of settlements to staffers who have filed complaints against members of Congress for two decades. Congress is also tackling new legislation that changes the way harassment complaints are handled on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who championed legislation that would overhaul harassment reporting in Congress, told CNN she was thrilled with the shift to a more “enlightened” culture.

“What a difference a year can make,” she said when she heard the news during an interview on CNN Wednesday morning, referencing the way accusations against Trump were handled last year leading up to the election compared to now.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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