Weinstein effect

The Weinstein effect is a global trend in which people come forward to accuse famous or powerful men of sexual misconduct.[1][2] The term came into use to describe a worldwide wave of these allegations that began in the United States in October 2017, when media outlets reported on numerous sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Described as a "tipping point" or "watershed moment", the Weinstein allegations precipitated a "national reckoning" against sexual harassment.[2][3] USA Today wrote that 2017 was the year in which "sexual harassment became a fireable offense".[4]

Preceded by other sexual harassment cases earlier in the year, the reports on the Weinstein allegations and subsequent #MeToo campaign, which encouraged people to share their suppressed experiences of sexual misconduct, triggered a cascade of allegations across multiple industries that brought about the swift removal of many men in positions of power in the United States, while tarnishing and ending political careers of additional men, as it spread around the world. In the entertainment industry, allegations led to the dismissal of actors and directors alike.[citation needed]

Most prominently, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., and filmmaker Brett Ratner had projects canceled following at least six allegations apiece. Over three hundred women accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment. In journalism, allegations led to the firing of ors, publishers, executives and hosts, which included high-profile television figures such as Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, and Matt Lauer. In politics, accusations of varying degrees of severity were made against politicians such as John Conyers, Al Franken, and Roy Moore. Celebrity chefs Mario Batali and John Besh, and some financial and public relations executives, were also removed.

Background[]

In July 2016, Fox News television host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against the station's chairman Roger Ailes, which led to his removal and encouraged journalists to pursue rumors about the conduct of Weinstein and political commentator Bill O'Reilly. Similar revelations and a lawsuit led to O'Reilly being fired in April 2017. Both Ailes and O'Reilly denied wrongdoing.[4]

Inception[]

Harvey Weinstein, the producer accused of sexual misconduct

On October 5, 2017, The New York Times broke the first reports of decades of sexual misconduct claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein. On October 10, 2017, journalist Ronan Farrow reported further allegations that Weinstein had sexually assaulted or harassed 13 women, and raped three.[5]

Weinstein was dismissed from The Weinstein Company shortly thereafter. Weinstein had previously suppressed these cases through confidential financial settlements and nondisclosure agreements, as was common for celebrity sexual harassment cases, before journalists aired the story. Over 80 accusers came forward against Weinstein, including many well-known actresses.[6]

Impact[]

United States[]

The Weinstein allegations precipitated an immediate "national reckoning" against sexual harassment and assault in the United States,[7] which became known as the Weinstein effect; on social media, it was widely known as "#pervnado".[8] Men and women aired claims of sexual misconduct in workplaces across multiple industries, leading to the swift international removal of many men in positions of power. On Twitter, the #MeToo campaign encouraged hundreds of thousands of people to share their stories.[9][4]

On November 25, 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department reported it was investigating 28 open sex crime cases involving Hollywood and media figures.[10] On January 1, 2018, a group of Hollywood women announced the creation of Time's Up to fight workplace sexual harassment and assault.[11]

Entertainment[]

By late October 2017, cases included, in the entertainment industry, Screen Junkies co-creator Andy Signore,[12][13] Amazon Studios director Roy Price, Agency for the Performing Arts talent agent Tyler Grasham, Nickelodeon's The Loud House creator Chris Savino, and actor Andy Dick.[14][15][7]

Over 300 women accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment.[4] As of November 23, 2017, the Beverly Hills Police Department has opened 12 sexual assault cases in the entertainment industry, including cases against Weinstein and Toback.[16]

By early November, the number of accusations compounded exponentially:

Production[]

Journalism[]

In journalism, multiple men were accused of sexual misconduct and subject to firing or suspension.[39]

Judiciary[]

Politics[]

Numerous elected officials and politicians also faced allegations.

Other[]

International[]

The Weinstein effect has reached international scale. In Europe, allegations of sexual misconduct against many British politicians became a public scandal involving dozens of women accusers across decades and political parties. It led to the resignations of Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Welsh minister Carl Sargeant (who took his own life, four days after his dismissal).[159]

Analysis[]

American journalists in conversation at NPR spoke of the series of allegations feeling like a tipping point for societal treatment of sexual misconduct.[183] They distinguished the moment from prior sexual misconduct public debates by the public trust in the accusers, who in this case were celebrities familiar to the public, rather than the accusers in prior cases, in which the accusers were unknown and became famous for their testimony. Social media provides a platform for women to share their experiences and encouragement at a scale that had not existed during prior public debates.[183] The state of California is considering legislation to ban secret sexual harassment settlements.[4]

Two columnists of the USA Today expressed doubt that the trend of public opinion would hold, citing open, public cases with few consequences: R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, and Donald Trump.[4] The Weinstein effect also caused multiple sources to question the place of Bill Clinton within the Democratic Party due to the sexual assault allegations against him.[184][185][186]

See also[]

References[]

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Further reading[]