A surge. In this fall of 2017, almost daily floods of denunciations of sexual assault overwhelm American society in a few weeks. In the wake of the rape accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein published in the New York Times on October 5 and completed in the New Yorker five days later, few sectors have escaped this wave of liberated words.
From Wall Street to Hollywood, from Silicon Valley to universities, business leaders, actors, artists, politicians, journalists, academics, athletes are in turn implicated by dozens of women. Like long-kept secrets, rape, touching, harassment, “inappropriate behavior” are made public, attached to the keyword #metoo, launched in 2007 by the African-American activist Tarana Burke and revitalized by actress Alyssa Milano. The American press is struggling to keep pace with this “#metoo moment” and regularly publishes summary tables: names of the hundreds of personalities – more or less influential – implicated, nature and consequences of the accusations, when consequences there are: dismissal , eviction, exclusion, condemnation…
If the Weinstein affair thus electrifies the country and encourages women to speak out, it is because it is part of a climate that the election of Donald Trump, nearly a year earlier, has made favorable. During the 2016 presidential campaign, a recording of the billionaire, himself accused of sexual assault, was unveiled, in which he assures that “when you’re a famous man, you can do anything, you can grab them by the pussy”. A few weeks after its installation in the White House, 1 million people, mostly women, wearing pink caps – humorously reminiscent of the ears of a cat (te) – parade in the streets of Washington. In the crowd, the sexist remarks of the new president are not the only grounds for protest, but they dominate.
As if the country, or at least its liberal fringe, no longer supported impunity on these subjects. And hadn’t given up hope that that would change. A few months earlier, a scandal had shaken Fox News, an essential conservative institution, seeming to prove him right. Suddenly, the revelation of cases of sexual harassment had been fatal to two major figures of the chain. Its president Roger Ailes, a close friend of Trump, and one of its star hosts, Bill O’Reilly, had to resign after being accused by several star journalists. The affair will give rise to the film in 2019 bombshell.
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