Ashley Judd, one of the first women to publicly accuse disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, sparking a movement against harassment; Taylor Swift; former Uber engineer Susan Fowler; lobbyist Adama Iwu; and strawberry picker Isabel Pascual (a pseudonym) — dubbed “The Silence Breakers: The Voices That Launched a Movement” — cover the annual issue.
Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal made the reveal Wednesday on the “Today” show, which recently fired longtime anchor Matt Lauer amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
“The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” Felsenthal said in a statement. “The roots of Time’s annual franchise — singling out the person or persons who most influenced the events of the year — lie in the so-called great man theory of history, a phrasing that sounds particularly anachronistic at this moment. But the idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year. For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, The Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year.”
The movement beat out President Donald Trump, 2016’s Time Person of the Year, for the title. Trump tweeted last month that he was “probably” going to be given the title for the second straight year, but “took a pass” on the honor.
“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot,” Trump wrote. “I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!”
Time, in its own tweet, said, “The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. Time does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.”
The magazine interviewed dozens of men and women, including Rose McGowan, Megyn Kelly, and Terry Crews, who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Kelly devoted the majority of her hour of “Today” to the issue.
In the cover story, Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman, and Haley Sweetland Edwards write, “The reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and coworkers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. … These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought. … Emboldened by Judd, Rose McGowan and a host of other prominent accusers, women everywhere have begun to speak out about the inappropriate, abusive and in some cases illegal behavior they’ve faced.”
The movement took off following the publication of an explosive New York Times expose that highlighted multiple women’s accounts of harassment and assault at the hands of Weinstein. In the unprecedented fallout, dozens of high-profile men in film, media, politics, and other industries have been accused of misconduct, with some fired from their posts.