‘Weinstein effect’ gets global traction
Half of #metoo mentions come from outside the U.S
The sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein that rocked Hollywood and sparked a flurry of allegations in other American industries, as well as the political arena, are reaching far beyond U.S. borders. Emboldened by the women, and men, who have spoken up, the “Weinstein effect” is rippling across the globe.
Nearly half of the “#metoo” mentions since the movement has been launched have come from outside the U.S., and decades-old accusations have led to the downfall of some of those countries’ most powerful men.
In the immediate aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, the British government led by Prime Minister Theresa May has been rocked by a series of harassment allegations that have led to one high-level resignation — that of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon — and threatened the position of First Secretary of State Damian Green, a vital ally of the prime minister.
The accusations have come from parliamentary researchers, staff and journalists. Some have said the political parties involved failed to take action and actively discouraged victims from going to police. Claims range from unwanted touching to allegations of rape. At least one case involving a legislator has been referred to police for possible prosecution, with the details kept private. Green, the prime minister’s chief aide and a de facto deputy prime minister, was accused by a young Conservative Party activist of inappropriate touching and text messages and a former senior policeman says “extreme” pornography was found on a computer in Green’s office in 2008 — which Green denies and calls a political smear.
The floodgates opened in Israel when, during a TV panel discussion about the harassment in Hollywood, Channel 10 journalist Oshrat Kotler revealed that Israeli media mogul and International Olympic Committee member Alex Gilady had made an “indecent” proposal to her during a job interview 25 years ago. Haaretz columnist Neri Livneh then added that Gilady exposed himself to her during a 1999 business meeting at his home. Two other women later came forward saying Gilady had raped them. He denied the rape accusations, said he doesn’t recall the Kotler incident but said Livneh’s claim was “mainly correct” and apologized. As a result, Gilady, a former sports executive at NBC, stepped down as president of the local Keshet broadcasting company he founded. The IOC also said it is looking into the allegations.
In Italy, the Weinstein scandal has been front-page news ever since it broke because Italian actress Asia Argento was one of the main, named accusers in an expose by The New Yorker.
The scandal has taken on new life with accusations by 10 women that an Italian television and film director, Fausto Brizzi, molested them. An investigative TV show reported initial accusations without naming the director last month, but in a followup report Sunday named Brizzi. He has strenuously denied having non-consensual sex. On Tuesday, the Italian unit of Warner Bros. suspended all future new work with Brizzi.
In South Africa, former member of parliament Jennifer Ferguson came forward to allege she was raped in 1993 by Danny Jordaan, president of the country’s soccer association. Jordaan denied the accusation.
In Peru, this year’s beauty pageant to select the country’s candidate for the Miss Universe competition was a surprise venue for denouncing gender-based violence against women.
Instead of citing their body measurements, as is customary, each of the 23 contestants recounted frightening statistics about the mistreatment of women in the South American nation.
The sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein are reaching beyond U.S. borders.