“Whatever we wear, wherever we go, ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no’.” That was one of the many chants heard as thousands of men, women and children gathered outside the Dolby Theater in Hollywood yesterday for the #MeToo Survivors March to support victims of sexual abuse and harassment.
The march took a poignant route: starting outside the venue for the Academy Awards, down the walk of fame and onto LA’s famous Sunset Boulevard – all venues associated with the entertainment industry.
“It’s really symbolic to have this march happen, not with Hollywood stars, but in Hollywood,” said Tarana Burke, the activist and creator of the #MeToo Movement. “For every Harvey Weinstein, there’s a hundred more men in the neighbourhood who are doing the exact same thing,” she continued. “The conversation around harassment in Hollywood will broaden to include other industries if we force it to. It’s not going to do it on its own.”
The #MeToo Movement was founded by Tarana Burke to reach sexual assault victims in underprivileged countries. This comes after the recent accusations of sexual abuse and mistreatment against powerful figures in the entertainment industry, which led to the viral #MeToo social media campaign, which was launched by actor Alyssa Milano to expose the extent of this kind of abuse in everyday life:
Last week, comedian Louis C.K. became the latest Hollywood star to be accused of sexual misconduct, following producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, producer-director Brett Ratner and writer-director James Toback.
Sunday’s march saw protesters hold up signs with slogans such as ‘My body, my rules’, T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Take back the workplace’ and chants including, “Not in pots, not in plants, keep your junk inside your pants” and “Harvey Weinstein is a joke, women workers just got woke.”
The #MeToo March ended in a rally, including speeches from sexual abuse survivors, activists and TV journalist Lauren Sivan – one of the women who accused Harvey Weinstein of making unwanted sexual advances. “We want our daughters and sons to be able to go to a workplace and never have to take a meeting with a dude in a bathrobe,” she said. “They will never have to choose to put out or keep their job.”
Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman also made a speech, calling for more diversity in the workplace and the reformation of HR departments to help tackle the issue of harassment and abuse: “Do not let them destroy us. We can win this war. It’s a game. It’s a game of power that we can win.”
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