The actress, activist and University of Kentucky graduate is joined on the cover by software engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu, singer Taylor Swift and strawberry picker Isabel Pascual. The cover features the headline: “The Silence Breakers: The Voices that Launched a Movement.”
The “silence breakers” emerged with allegations of sexual misconduct. The list of accusers has increased as high-profile actors, politicians and journalists were accused of sexual harassment. According to the magazine, it was “one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s.”
Judd was one of the first accusers of disgraced film executive Harvey Weinstein. She spoke last week “from the heart” at the UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts about how she’s using her voice in the fight against abuse and sexual misconduct in Hollywood and around the world. Her experience with Weinstein was published by The New York Times in early October.
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“There is naturally a chaotic, messy, unprecedented socio-cultural sexual change, a reckoning as some folks are calling it, happening around us,” Judd told students and university faculty. “And it won’t be tidy, and it won’t be easy. We don’t have a playbook.”
Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said the men and women who have been vocal in the #MeToo movement were worthy recipients for person of the year “for giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable.”
“The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover … along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” Felsenthal said in a statement.
In her interview with Time, Judd said there was no route to stop the abuse, despite Weinstein’s behavior being an open secret, according to one of her screenwriter friends.
“Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?” Judd asked. “There wasn’t a place for us to report these experiences.”
Twenty years after Weinstein’s alleged harassment, Judd went on the record in The New York Times about his behavior. She was the first star to come forward, but she wasn’t the last.
“We need to formalize the whisper network,” Judd said. “It’s an ingenious way that we’ve tried to keep ourselves safe. All those voices can be amplified. That’s my advice to women. That and if something feels wrong, it is wrong — and it’s wrong by my definition and not necessarily someone else’s.”
Swift was vocal about harassment by Denver disc jockey David Mueller, but she was sued for millions in damages when Mueller was fired. Swift countersued, and in court she told Mueller’s lawyer, “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel in any way that this is my fault.” She won.
A blog post from Fowler, the software engineer, led Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to resign and the multibillion-dollar company to fire at least 20 employees. Fowler, a former Uber engineer, said she was sexually harassed, ignored by the company’s human-resources department and threatened by her manager for reporting the allegations, according to Business Insider.
Iwu, the lobbyist, said she was groped in front of several colleagues at an event and was shocked when none of her male co-workers tried to stop the assault. A week later, she organized 147 women to sign an open letter exposing harassment in California’s government, Time said.
Pascual, who used a pseudonym to protect her family, was stalked and made to feel powerless by a harasser. She was among the California farm workers who marched on the Hollywood streets in November to express solidarity with the stars, according to Time.
After a few victims made their experiences public, the #MeToo hashtag took off in social media, with men and women sharing their stories.
As of Oct. 24, #MeToo had reached 85 countries with 1.7 million tweets, CBS reported. That was after actress Alyssa Milano helped popularize the phrase when the first stories emerged detailing some of the accusations against Weinstein.
“It became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage,” Felsenthal said.
Time announced its short list of 10 candidates on Monday. The choices ranged from Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign played a role in Russia’s attempted interference in the 2017 election.
Last week, the 2016 Time person of the year and this year’s runner-up — President Donald Trump — made waves when he took to Twitter saying that he’d been told he would probably get the slot again in 2017, but that he’d turned it down.
Time, however, had a different story.
The announcement was made Wednesday on NBC’s “Today,” where host Matt Lauer was fired last week after harassment allegations. “Today” host Savannah Guthrie acknowledged Wednesday that this year’s winner hits “close to home,” and she mentioned Lauer by name, according to the Associated Press.
Time has been selecting a person of the year since 1927, according to the magazine.