High-Profilers 'Brought Down' by #MeToo Movement
Founded more than a decade ago and having found new prominence over a year ago, the MeToo movement has now evolved - and some would argue, mutated - into an international force that triggered the downfall of celebrities and officials and even made its way to school curriculum.
British actor Ed Westwick felt the full weight of the impact of sex abuse accusations, after two women accused him of rape last November and a third woman accused him of sexual assault. The BBC cut the actor out of its Agatha Christie drama Ordeal by Innocence and "paused" filming of the White Gold comedy series.
After the allegations emerged last year, Westwick was slammed by online criticism voice by those who believed the allegations to be true. However, the prosecutors in Los Angeles have ruled in July 2018 there was no sufficient evidence to charge Westwick.
American actor Michael Douglas has pre-emptively denied #MeToo allegations in January, voiced by author and journalist Susan Braundy. Braundy alleged that Douglas had made sexually-charged comments and masturbated in front of her during a private meeting in his apartment in the late '80s, when she ran the New York office of Douglas' production company. The allegations have impacted the actor’s family, with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones speaking out about the devastating effect of the allegations.
Since the #MeToo gained traction, its ‘first case’ in Germany involved director Dieter Wedel, who was accused by several women, ranging from rape to pressuring female staff to have sex. Actresses Patricia Thielemann and Jany Tempel accused Wedel of sexual assault in separate incidents in his hotel rooms in 1991 and 1996. Most of the accusations against Wedel are too old to be brought to trial due to the statute of limitations, with some of them dating back to the 1970s.
Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017, an allegation he has denied. He has since had his highly successful role in the US TV show House of Cards terminated by Netflix.
The scandal also prompted film director Sir Ridley Scott to remove Spacey's performance from All the Money in the World and re-shoot his scenes with Christopher Plummer. 1992 sexual assault claims against the actor have been dropped by Los Angeles authorities. However, a number of other allegations are still investigated, including three in the UK.
Oscar winning US actor and filmmaker said he was sorry for touching then-Total Request Live host Hilarie Burton’s breast during a 2003 interview. At the wake of the #MeToo movement, the actor tweeted in October 2017:
“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”
Makeup artist Annemarie Tendler later said on Twitter that the actor “grabbed my ass” at a 2014 Golden Globes party. “I would also love to get an apology,” she tweeted. Affleck has not commented on Tendler’s allegations.
American actress Ally Sheedy was critical in her – since deleted – tweets about actor James Franco, who accepted the Golden Globe for Best Actor, Musical or Comedy in 2018.
“James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/TV business,” Sheedy, who Franco directed in a 2014 play, tweeted.
Other allegations of Franco’s sexual misconduct also popped up online, including a claim he tried to pick up a 17-year-old girl via Instagram. Later, in one of the interviews, Franco said intentionally pursuing teenage girls.
Brett Kavanaugh, now a US Supreme Court judge, was embroiled in a sexual allegations scandal that saw mass opposition by largely women’s rights acticivists to his nomination. Kavanaugh was accused by a Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor, of sexually assaulting her in high school. An FBI report, issued following hearings and interviews with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, exonerated the official of sexual assault claim. “My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false accusations,” Kavanaugh said in his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In Australia, the #MeToo movement saw numerous women accuse Don Burke – host of the top-rating gardening show Burke’s Backyard – of indecent assault, sexual harassment and bullying during the 1980s and 1990s. In response statement, Burke denied all allegations and professed his life-long “opposition to sexism and misogyny.”