On this day in 2017, The New York Times publishes a detailed investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against film producer Harvey Weinstein. The bombshell report led to Weinstein’s eventual arrest on charges of rape and other sexual misconduct. It has since become recognized as one of the defining early moments of the #MeToo movement.
Within certain circles, Weinstein’s predatory behavior had been widely known for some time—in the wake of the revelations, it became clear that many celebrities and journalists had been at least partially aware of the allegations. Multiple reporters had been scrambling to break the story—reporter Ronan Farrow had brought the story to NBC News in 2016 but was turned away, eventually publishing his expose in The New Yorker five days after the Times’ ran its investigation. The list of Weinstein’s accusers eventually grew to several dozen women, ranging from well-known actresses like Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow to women who had worked for as little as one day at Miramax or the Weinstein Company.
Weinstein was immediately fired from his company and expelled from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. The allegations set off a chain reaction, as more women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against important figures throughout the entertainment industry, the fashion industry, politics, the sports world and elsewhere. In addition to the public shaming of a number of high-powered media figures and celebrities, the #MeToo Movement, as it came to be known, forced many Americans to examine the power dynamics and institutional sexism that allowed powerful men in virtually every field to commit and cover up all manner of sexual misconduct.
Some of the men who faced #MeToo allegations have either apologized and attempted to move on with their careers or simply denied the charges and kept their positions of power. Most notably, over 20 women have accused President Donald Trump of misconduct ranging from verbal harassment to rape. Meanwhile, as new allegations continue to arise in workplaces across the world, it's clear that the Weinstein scandal was an important step in the struggle to expose and stamp out sexual misconduct.