The 2021 #MeToo Wave is Already a Tsunami
Content Warning: This article discusses allegations of sexual assault.
We should have known last April when Armie Hammer shaved his hair into a mohawk and grew a handlebar mustache and captioned an Insta story showing off his new look with “I’m fine” that things were not fine. And it was more than just early pandemic mania.
Hammer is just one of the men facing the latest wave of accusations of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. Hammer allegedly physically abused and emotionally manipulated women he was dating in addition to sending DMs that detail acts of cannibalism. Hammer split from his wife of 10 years split last year; he recently moved out of his LA family home. To add to the harrowing DMs and allegations, paparazzi documented a bound mannequin in the garbage outside of Hammer’s former home after his move.
In February of this year, actress Evan Rachel Wood accused her ex-fiance Marilyn Manson of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Following Wood’s accusation, two other women accused him of sexual misconduct and multiple women made other allegations. Manson denied these claims, stating that, “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.” Manson was dropped by his label, talent agency, and manager and removed from future TV episodes of American Gods and Creepshow.
Director Woody Allen has also been facing renewed heat thanks to the HBO documentary series Allen v. Farrow. The series centers on Dylan Farrow, adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and Allen, her ex-partner. Dylan Farrow accused her father of sexual assault first in 1992, then again in 2013, 2014, and 2017. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegations and the only recrimination he has faced was a 1994 court decision that limited his visitation with his children.
Allen is also notoriously married to Mia Farrow’s daughter Soon-Yi Previni, whom she adopted with her ex-husband. Allen is 35 years Previn’s senior and their relationship is believed to have begun when Previn was 21. Previn maintains that Allen was never a father figure to her.
And most recently, Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment. From early on in the pandemic, Cuomo was hailed by the news media as a hero for his swift, public handling of the emergency (even though many of his own constituents were troubled by his COVID response plan). Cuomo has denied the allegations and refuses to step down from office while many high-level state leaders have called for his resignation and an independent investigation.
The frequency of these allegations, so early into the year, is depressing, daunting, and scary. What is promising, though, are the responses. In years past, there seemed to be more speculation circulating in favor of the accused men, such as the experiences of Andrea Constand and Rose McGowan against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. These women had the burden of proof thrust upon them and they were, in some cases, excoriated for their claims. The media’s swift and persistent coverage of these more recent accusations seems to signal a turning tide in how the media handles sexual harassment and assault.
The response from the internet’s hoi polloi, too, seems generally in support of the victims. On Reddit, hub for some of the internet’s most vitriolic content, self-declared Democrats supported calls for Cuomo’s investigation and resignation. There’s an entire subreddit dedicated to receipts of Armie Hammer’s abuse. In these instances, the ruthless brigade of cancel culture works in victims’ favor.
Even if there is no recourse for the allegations of assault and abuse (and fingers crossed there is), at the very least Hammer has been blacklisted. He’s been dropped from his talent agency and his name has been removed from the big features he had in the pipeline, including a prequel to The Godfather. It would appear that this is a situation in which cancel culture worked swiftly and efficiently to deliver some kind of justice, even if it never goes to court.
Whereas Hammer seemed to be at the top of his game and Cuomo has experienced a sharp fall in public opinion, Manson has always been a fringe figure and reached his height of popularity in the 90s and early 00s. Like Allen, the allegations against them are credible and distressing, but it doesn’t seem like there is as much at stake for them to lose.
Last year, Allen published his memoir, Apropos of Nothing, with Hachette, the same publisher in charge of Allen’s son Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill, which detailed the accusations against powerful men in media including Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer. In it, he again denied any claims of wrongdoing. The memoir was met with apathy: it was sort of funny, but mostly missing the mark. It seemed to many like this memoir was a grab at relevancy and its lukewarm response justified Allen’s declining career. . Many, though, still struggle with lambasting Allen. As director of so many beloved, iconic films, it becomes difficult to separate the man from the art.
As always, it is important to keep the momentum going, continue to hold public figures accountable for their actions, and believe women, even long after the credits have rolled.
Call To Action
–Sabrina Serani, Content Creator