Around the world in 2017, women and some men used the social media hashtag #MeToo to tell their stories of sexual abuse.
To ring in 2018, the creator of “Me Too” will press the button that releases the ball drop in Times Square in New York City.
Activist Tarana Burke first used “Me Too” in this way, back in 2006.
More than 10 years later, following the first media reports of sexual abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, American actor Alyssa Milano wrote a message on Twitter. She asked her Twitter followers to write #MeToo if they had experienced sexual assault or harassment.
The tweet spread worldwide. A movement was born, one that has seen more people coming forward with their abuse experiences than ever before. Well-known and powerful men in Hollywood, politics, news media and other industries have been accused of sexual wrongdoing. Many have lost their jobs and ended their careers.
Milano was quick to give Burke credit for the phrase. And when Time magazine chose the sexual abuse “Silence Breakers” as its 2017 Person of the Year, Milano and Burke appeared together on American television.
Organizers of the Times Square New Year’s Eve event say they chose Burke after looking at some of the year’s major social and political changes.
In a statement, Burke said she was “delighted” to take part in the event. “I think it’s fitting to honor the Me Too movement as we close a historic year and set our intentions for 2018,” Burke said.
The Times Square New Year’s Eve party is the one of the oldest, biggest and most famous New Year’s celebration in America. The first New Year’s Eve celebration there took place in 1904. The owners of a building on Times Square held that first party on the roof of their building. Three years later, a New Year’s ball joined the celebration.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Words in This Story
hashtag- n. a word or phrase that starts with the symbol # and that briefly indicates what a message (such as a tweet) is about
sexual assault - n. the crime of touching someone in an unwanted sexual way
harassment - n. the act of bothering someone in a repeated way
delighted - adj. made very happy : full of great pleasure or satisfaction