Time has chosen its 2017 Person of the Year: the Silence Breakers, the women and men who have come forward to shed light on sexual harassment and abuse in America.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Edward Felsenthal, made the announcement on NBC’s Today show on Wednesday, citing “the galvanizing actions of the women on our cover.” Those women featured on the cover include actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, Visa lobbyist Adama Iwu, Mexican agricultural worker Isabel Pascual, and one woman whose face cannot be seen.
In a statement, Felsenthal also honored the courage of “hundreds of others, and of many men as well, [who] have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s.”
Judd was one of the first women to come forward with allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in early October. Swift made headlines in a court case against former radio DJ David Mueller, who she alleged groped her while taking a picture; Swift won her lawsuit against him, in which she asked for $1 in damages. Fowler spoke out about Uber’s culture of sexual harassment, and Iwu spearheaded a campaign to expose sexual misconduct in California politics. “Isabel Pascual” is a pseudonym for a woman from Mexico who works picking strawberries and was harassed, and was one of the 700,000 female farm workers who marched in solidarity with Hollywood actors against sexual assault in November.
The woman featured to the right of the cover whose face cannot be seen represents the unnamed women — and men — who have come forward anonymously with reports.
It is perhaps ironic that Time’s big reveal took place on Today, which just last week fired longtime host Matt Lauer over allegations of sexual harassment. Multiple women have come forward, and accounts of Lauer’s alleged misconduct have been published by Variety and the New York Times.
Prior to Time’s announcement, Today viewers had selected the #MeToo movement the winner in an online poll of Person of the Year finalists.