In the backdrop of an overwhelming series of accusations of sexual harassment against Hollywood figures in the past weeks, thousands of protesters marched in support of victims of sexual assault and harassment in Los Angeles, as reported by BBC.
The protests reflected the unprecedented outpouring of the social media campaign #MeToo, which was created by activist Tarana Burke in an effort to reach out to sexual assault victims and to expose the magnitude and prevalence of toxic culture in workplaces across industry and fields.
The hashtag became a viral phenomenon when it was popularised by actress Alyssa Milano, in the wake of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The #MeToo trend had gathered conversations among 4.7 million people within 24 hours of its launch with more than 12 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook alone.
According to the BBC report, Burke who led the Sunday march from the heart of Hollywood, included a walk along the iconic ‘Walk of Fame’ and ended at the CNN headquarters had said on Facebook, “For every Harvey Weinstein, there’s a hundred more men in the neighborhood who are doing the exact same thing. What we’re seeing, at least for now, is a unity of survivors, a community of survivors that have grown out of this #MeToo viral moment, that I’m just hoping and praying that we can sustain.”
As reported by Reuters, Tara McNamarra, a 21 year old marcher from Los Angeles said, “I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times throughout my life. It’s affected me in every aspect of my life.”
The march, which included both men and women saw chants like, “Not in pots, not in plants, keep your junk inside your pants”, “Harvey Weinstein is a joke, women workers just got woke”, and “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no’”, as reported by The Guardian.
Since Harvey Weinstein was exposed by The New York Times to have agreed to settle with eight previous victims who had accused him of sexual harassment in October, many more women came forward to name and expose sexual offenders in Hollywood. These include the actor Kevin Spacey, the director Brett Ratner and comedian Louis CK.