TIME's Person of the Year 2017: "Silence Breakers" Like Ashley Judd and Taylor Swift
TIME has selected the “silence breakers” as its Person of the Year.
Today‘s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced the news on the air Wednesday morning. The group succeeds Donald Trump, who was given the honor last year after winning the U.S. presidency. (Trump claimed last month he had declined an offer to “probably” receive the title again this year; a spokesperson for the magazine tweeted he’d shared “
Runners up for 2017 included Trump (No. 2) and the President of China, Xi Jinping (No. 3). Ashley Judd, who shared her story of sexual harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, appears on the cover alongside Taylor Swift , who successfully sued a radio DJ who groped her.
“I started talking about Harvey the minute that it happened,” Judd says. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set,” she says. “And he could tell by my face—to use his words—that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.” Weinstein, who has been fired, said he “never laid a glove” on Judd and denies having non-consensual sex with other accusers.
Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret in Hollywood, Judd says—but it’s pervasive in other industries, too. It wasn’t until the actress and other women went on the record in The New York Times that Weinstein finally had to address his actions. As to why Weinstein’s accusers stayed silent for so long, she asks, “Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?” At the time, Judd adds, “There wasn’t a place for us to report these experiences.”
Swift says she was made to feel bad about the consequences that David Mueller faced. After she complained that he had reached under her skirt and grabbed her butt during a meet and greet, Mueller was fired; in response, he sued her for millions in damages. Swift countersued for a symbolic $1—and won. “I figured that if he would be brazen enough to assault me under these risky circumstances, imagine what he might do to a vulnerable, young artist if given the chance,” she says. By the time she testified in August, she recalls, “I had already had to watch this man’s attorney bully, badger and harass my team, including my mother. I was angry.”
The “…Ready for It?” singer was emboldened on the stand. “In that moment, I decided to forgo any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me,” she says. “Why should I be polite?”
The people profiled in TIME have no intention of going away quietly, either.
“We’re running out of time,” McGowan says. “I don’t have time to play nice.”
McGowan, who accused Weinstein of rape (a claim he later denied), is encouraged by the people who are using their voices to call people out and lift others up. “The number of people sharing their stories with me is so intense, especially since all of this is incredibly triggering for me as well. People forget a lot that there’s a human behind this, someone who is very hurt. But that’s OK,” she tells the magazine. “It fuels my fire. They really f–ked with the wrong person.”