Friday, December 15, 2017

Women across the world are writing “me too” on social media to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment.

The phrase began trending on Twitter and has been posted by millions of Facebook users after people were asked to share their experiences in light of allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

Thousands posted in reply to actress Alyssa Milano after she shared a screenshot of the suggestion on Twitter. 

“We might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” said the post.

Debra Messing, star of Will and Grace, Anna Paquin, the Oscar-winning actress from New Zealand, and Labour MP Stella Creasy are among those who have spoken out.

Some men, including Hamilton actor Javier Munoz, also posted the phrase. 

Milano, who starred in Charmed alongside Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s alleged rape victims, spoke out about the disgraced film producer last week as claims of sexual assault and harassment by him mounted.

 “While I am sickened and angered over the disturbing accusations of Weinstein’s sexual predation and abuse of power, I’m happy – ecstatic even – that it has opened up a dialogue around the continued sexual harassment, objectification and degradation of women,” she wrote in a blog.

A number of allegations have been made against Weinstein and police investigations have been launched in the US and UK against the corpulent producer. 

Asia Argento, Lucia Evans, and Lysette Anthony are among the actresses who have said they were raped by the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

Claims against Weinstein have snowballed since a New York Times investigation which revealed that he had reached out-of-court settlements with eight women earlier this month. 

High-profile Hollywood actresses including Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale and Gwyneth Paltrow have said Weinstein harassed them.

Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” allegations of non-consensual sex and has not been charged with a crime.

The scandal has prompted soul-searching in Hollywood, with actors such as Colin Firth admitting to feeling “shame” for not doing more after hearing “distressing” claims about one of the industry’s most powerful figures.

The organisation behind the Oscars voted to expel Weinstein at an emergency board meeting over the weekend.

In a statement, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said: “We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”

The British Academy Film Awards has also suspended Weinstein’s membership, while organisers of the Cannes Film Festival said they were dismayed by the allegations.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said said the country had also started the process of stripping Harvey Weinstein of his Legion of Honour, the country;s highest civilian distinction. 

Weinstein received the Legion of Honour, “Chevalier” grade, from his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, in March 2012.