How #MeToo is changing the global entertainment industry

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#MeToo Harvey Weinstein
The catalyst for the #MeToo movement - Harvey Weinstein - Photo by Georges Biard via Wikimedia commons

The #MeToo movement initially began as a joint outcry following several allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein. This movement has not only began a huge re-evaluation of gender relations in the United States but in other countries as well.

At heart, the #MeToo movement and other similar campaigns are about putting a spotlight on generations of systemic sexual misconduct towards working women in the entertainment industry. Commentators have referred to this as a new awakening of female empowerment that was bubbling under industry pressures for far too long.

The #MeToo movement has inspired copycats worldwide. The #NoPredators campaign is targeted at film culture within the United Kingdom and has introduced a new conduct code on the sets of TV and film productions.

This push to establish a new working code of conduct has been mirrored in Canada as well. The Canadian film and TV industries united to establish a new code of conduct following criticism that unions were not doing enough to discourage and prevent sexual misconduct.

Sweden has also seen the rise of its own backlash against the systemic tolerance of sexual misconduct. An open letter from a group of almost 600 Swedish female actors reported widespread sexual misconduct in the film and theatre industries. The letter stated that several parts of the industry had failed to protect women from abuse.

The #MeToo campaign has not only inspired similar movements but most importantly inspired victims of sexual misconduct to come forward with their stories. Many women worldwide have used the momentum of #MeToo to feel comfortable and supported in speaking out.

In Australia several women came out with allegations of sexual misconduct against TV personality Don Burke, inspiring an ABC parody of his gardening show that talked about how to cultivate a sexual abuser.

The movement has not only inspired women and this can be seen in Hollywood actor Terry Crews’ recent lawsuit against WME for the sexual misconduct of one of its agents towards him. The case of Crews, being well respected man and having a large physical presence, highlighted that abuse could happen to anyone in any context.

The #MeToo issue has also seen some fierce debate between people within the entertainment industry. Matt Damon recently came under fire from multiple women including his ex-girlfriend for his comments regarding the #MeToo saga.

Damon attempted to point out a difference in the severity of sexual misconduct between Harvey Weinstein and the recent allegations against Sen. Al Franken, which forced him to resign from his position.

Ultimately the #MeToo movement has been successful in creating a necessary conversation about sexual abuse within the entertainment industry whilst promoting empowerment for victims to come forward.