A month or so ago a new hashtag went viral: #MeToo.
Women and men alike posted the hashtag to publicly announce that at some point in time they had faced sexual harassment — frequently in the workplace, from people higher in the food chain than them.
So, many found that being able to type those six characters offered a chance to take their power back – or at least start to. In the process, several high-profile men (i.e., Tavis Smiley, Bill O'Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and more) have faced at the very least a public walk of shame as they’ve been let go from their jobs. Just months ago it would have seemed unthinkable that these guys would be unemployed.
This month, there’s a new twist to this story, and new names may marching another walk of shame as a different hashtag threatens to cause crisis for some less likely celebrities.
In Los Angeles, California posters are showing up with a picture of Meryl Streep and a banner over her eyes that says "She knew." Will this become a #sheknew campaign? With Weinstein and others, allegations of their illicit behavior have been around for years, so it would seem that people were aware of the problem. The Streep posters showed up mid-December close to the SAG-AFTRA building, in Pasadena, California near Streep’s home, and in the Hollywood and Highland complex.
At this point, no one has claimed authorship or ownership of the posters, but they showed up not long after allegations were made by Rose McGowan that Streep knew all along. Streep, however, has denied the accusations.
Streep told Page Six, "It hurt to be attacked by [McGowan] . . . but I want to let her know I did not know about Weinstein’s crimes, not in the 1990s when he attacked her, or through subsequent decades when he proceeded to attack others. I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape. I don’t like young women being assaulted. I didn’t know this was happening."
Streep’s statement is good, but in wake everything surrounding this issue recently in the news, with celebrities, and otherwise. Will it be enough to counter the public accusations by McGowan and the posters?
Streep should be having some very serious discussions with her public relations and management team. Beyond that, other people who have worked with those who are in the limelight for past sexual misdeeds should be paying close attention.
Because it would appear that the public could be looking for the next level of complicity in a problem that has been covered up for far too long.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent public relations Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.
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