Time magazine said on Wednesday that “The Silence Breakers” who revealed the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault across various industries that triggered a national reckoning in the United States were its Person of the Year.
The Silence Breakers refers to millions of whistle-blowers who had rallied around the #MeToo hashtag on social media in the wake of revelations of systematic abuses perpetrated by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and other men.
The movement began spontaneously in October after actress-activist Alyssa Milano followed on a suggestion from a friend of a friend on Facebook and tweeted: “If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet.”
The hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours. It was used to share stories about sexual harassment and assault around the world.
The #MeToo movement had been founded by activist Tarana Burke on Twitter a decade ago to raise awareness about sexual violence.
The announcement of Time Person of the Year was made on Wednesday on NBC's "Today” show, where longtime host Matt Lauer was recently fired amid harassment allegations.
“Today” host Savannah Guthrie acknowledged that the year's winner hits “close to home” and mentioned Lauer by name.
Other finalists included President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Trump was runner-up of the prestigious ranking, ahead of Jinping.