Time magazine named as Person of the Year Wednesday “the silence breakers” who triggered a national reckoning by revealing the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, assault and abuse in US life.
President Donald Trump was runner-up in the prestigious ranking, ahead of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Time designated as “silence breakers” the individuals, mostly women, who came forward this year to publicly expose patterns of sexual harassment, assault and even rape by some of society’s most powerful public figures.
Those recognised by Time range from famous actresses who took on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to ordinary women who shared their stories of abuse using the hashtag #MeToo and its foreign language equivalents.
The accusations against Weinstein, who has denied wrongdoing, proved a tipping point for a flood of sordid revelations involving other titans of Hollywood, big business, politics and the news media.
Many once-admired leaders in their fields have been fired or suspended, their brilliant careers in tatters.
One of the figures singled out by Time, Ashley Judd was the first actress to come forward on the record to make accusations against the 65-year-old Weinstein.
She was followed by more than a hundred others, and a watershed moment began.
“When a movie star says #MeToo, it becomes easier to believe the cook who’s been quietly enduring for years,” a Time article read.