Meet Some of the People Who Came Out Against Weinstein, Ratner and More

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s power in numbers. One lone voice may have gone unnoticed, but the chorus of those who have risen up to share their stories has ensured that justice has a chance to be served. Their courage has sparked a sea change.

“Women have had enough. We’ve been shut up and silenced for so long,” says actress Natasha Henstridge, who’s been in constant contact with other accusers, offering one another advice and support. It was one of those conversations that spurred them to agree to take part in Variety’s photo shoot. (While Al Franken has apologized, the others named here have either denied the allegations or not commented publicly.)

“The single biggest impact we can have on society as a whole is changing what stories we tell and who gets to tell them,” says actress Sarah Ann Masse. “Representation is so incredibly important.”

Katherine Kendall
Actress
Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault, 1993
“I had lived with [my story] for a long time, and I had accepted that that was just the way things were. Knowing that telling my story helped other women helped me come forward. There was no reason to keep it a secret. That certainly had never served me personally.”

Louisette Geiss
Actress and screenwriter
Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault, 2008
“I decided to go public because overall I did not want Harvey Weinstein to sue The New York Times or continue to claim his encounters were consensual. I did not want to stand by idle and witness Harvey Weinstein say that Ashley Judd or any woman was lying or that our ‘story’ was so good he should buy the movie rights. My rights had been violated, and I gave up everything I dreamed of and worked so hard for to not be treated like a sex slave. I knew this had to end, and I was willing to take it on for me, my daughters and all women.”

Lauren Sivan
TV reporter and news anchor
Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault, 10 years ago
“In the past when women came forward, they were called liars, gold diggers or worse. They were told to stay quiet if they wanted to keep their jobs, reputation, etc. We need a system that believes women when they come forward, no matter how big or powerful the name they are accusing.”

Natasha Henstridge
Actress
Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault
“For me, it was the realization that I was not the only one that changed everything. I think we have a tendency to believe that someone else’s bad behavior in some way had to do with something you did. It’s an isolated incident until you find out that it’s not an isolated incident. When I found that out, I had a much harder time sleeping every night without coming forward. Every single night, I was torn. It ripped me up for a good month. I feel like a different person now. I feel like I can hold my head higher.”

Jaime Ray Newman
Actress
Brett Ratner, sexual harassment, 2005
“Sharing our experiences in brutal honesty is an essential tool. And if the people who have a larger platform can stir conversation and change, then maybe the cultural shift will spread to those men and women in the shadows, who work at jobs that don’t afford them the power we are so lucky to have. The greatest statistic I’ve heard recently is that after the [presidential] election, 19,000 women expressed serious interest in running for an elected governmental position. We have an opening right now to fill up positions of power with women and minorities who will level the playing field. That’s really all we are asking for — a meritocracy where everyone feels their worth is dependent on talent and drive, intelligence and passion, not their bra size.”

Kristina Cohen
Actress, writer, producer
Ed Westwick, rape, 2014
“I’m living my truth. I would have just felt like I wouldn’t be living my truth if I didn’t speak up. I was terrified. But every conversation I was having was about this is the time to clean the system out. This is what I’ve been writing about. I believe in cleaning out the system, and having women come into these power positions and create stories that honor women, that honor their sanctity and divinity over exploitation. It’s my nightmare to have my name out there with ‘rape’ next to it, but I just thought this is serving the greater good. This is the right thing to do.”

Dani Alvarado
Filmmaker
James Toback, sexual harassment, 2011
“I’d always assumed that since I was young and not famous, my voice didn’t matter; if anything, it would be damaging to me. I hope this movement encourages all women and men, no matter how powerless they feel, to speak up because they will be heard.”

Sarah Ann Masse
Actress and comedian
Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault, 2008
“I kept silent for nine years. When I saw the bravery of the other women who had come forward, and saw that for once there were actually repercussions, I decided to speak out. I felt it was important for other survivors to hear my story, a story that may be similar to theirs, and to know that they were not alone. To know that it isn’t their fault. And to know that they shouldn’t have to live in fear. We, as a society, need to believe victims, and our voices are so much stronger when we speak together.”

LeeAnn Tweeden
Radio broadcaster
Al Franken, sexual assault, 2006
“The women who spoke up before me gave me the courage and strength to say something. I am proud to stand next to these women. I’m hoping we’re making a difference for my 2-year-old daughter and my 4-year-old son. I truly believe this is the tipping point. This feels like a cultural shift because, frankly, it can’t go back to being the way it’s always been. And I believe social media has played a big role in all of this. It has given people with ‘no voice’ (but with internet access) the power to add their stories and say #MeToo. I also believe a huge part of it is that men are more engaged. When #MeToo was happening on social media, I saw a lot of my male friends freaking out. Now they’re not just listening to Hollywood women talking about sexual assault, they’re hearing their wives talking about their own stories.”

Tony Montana
Filmmaker
Kevin Spacey, sexual assault, 2003
“When Anthony Rapp came forward, I felt an immediate sense of both relief and responsibility to embolden others to follow suit, for their emotional and psychological well-being and to share their stories. I had to keep silent about Kevin Spacey sexually assaulting me, lest I be labeled a homophobe or liar. Fortunately the tide is turning, and the monsters are being vanquished. It is indeed a reckoning.”

Erika Rosenbaum
Actress
Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment and assault
“In the early days of the first story breaking, I got a sense, perhaps for the first time, that my ugly personal experience was not a dark mark on my character, but rather a common and systemic problem in our industry (and honestly, everywhere). I felt that he should be accountable for everyone of us he manipulated and abused, and this was my way of lending my voice to an overdue and much-needed conversation. I have some distance now, and I can see clearly this wasn’t my fault, and I didn’t deserve to be treated that way.”

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