It is clear that 2017 has been all about breaking the silence — whether by calling out government officials’s missteps, coming together around the world to peacefully protest systemic sexism, or bravely sharing stories of sexual abuse. And now, Time is honoring the latter group: On Wednesday morning, Edward Felsenthal, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, revealed that this year’s Person of the Year honor goes to the “silence breakers” of the #MeToo movement.
Felsenthal unveiled the 2017 Person of the Year issue on the Today show on Wednesday, including a cover image featuring Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, corporate lobbyist Adama Iwu, agricultural worker Isabel Pascual, and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, all of who have spoken out against workplace sexual harassment and assault in the past year. At the edge of the cover photo is another person, sitting just out of frame, presumably to represent the countless more survivors of sexual abuse who are still unable to share their stories.
“I could never imagine this, I could never have envisioned something that could change the world,” activist Tarana Burke, who originally started the #MeToo movement on Twitter in 2006, said on Today. “Sexual harassment does bring shame. And I think it’s really powerful that this transfer is happening, that these women are able not just to share their shame but to put the shame where it belongs: on the perpetrator.” Time‘s accompanying profile of the “silence breakers” also features Alyssa Milano, who resurfaced the #MeToo tag in October after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates and revealed just how widespread sexual misconduct is in Hollywood and beyond.
Selma Blair, Terry Crews, Rose McGowan, and director Blaise Godbe Lipman are among other Hollywood actors and crew members included in the piece, alongside the five women who filed a lawsuit against the Plaza Hotel’s alleged culture of “normalizing and trivializing sexual assault,” Oregon state Senator Sara Gelser, dishwasher Sandra Pezqueda, former Fox News contributor Wendy Walsh, Megyn Kelly, and several University of Rochester professors, among many, many others.
Runners-up for this year’s Person of the Year title are Chinese President Xi Jinping, Robert Mueller, Kim Jong-un, Colin Kaepernick, Patty Jenkins, and last year’s honoree, President Donald Trump. Trump claimed last week that he had already been offered the top spot, tweeting, “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” Time flat-out denied that this was true.
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