A Survey Of Where We Are In The #MeToo Movement11:00
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People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel on Dec. 9, 2017 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel on Dec. 9, 2017 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
This article is more than 1 year old.

Allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against prominent men continue to come out, leading to high-profile firings, resignations and, in some cases, lawsuits and police investigations.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks with Anna North (@annanorthtweets), senior reporter at Vox, to look at whether the #MeToo movement is leading to lasting social change and where it might be heading.

Interview Highlights

On where we are now

"We're about six months into this kind of current iteration of the #MeToo movement. Obviously, 'Me Too' as a term has been around for a long time. Tarana Burke coined it, really, about a decade ago. But I would date this particular sort of version to the big expose about Harvey Weinstein in The [New York] Times, which was in early October. And so I'd say we're approaching a sort of really interesting time in the movement where we've had a lot of really high-profile men be accused, and some women, and we've had a lot of high-profile dismissals. And I think a lot of people are asking what happens next.

"I think the sort of wave of media coverage that we saw where — it felt like there were months there where another powerful person was kind of being deposed or at least called out every day. It feels like that wave has abated a bit. At the same time, I think there's still a lot of conversation about, 'What are we going to do as a society about these issues?' I think that that kind of conversation is really important to continue and we can't lose sight of it."

On the impacts of movement

"I think you can look at Weinstein as sort of this initial figure. And I think for a lot of the women and survivors who came forward, the women who came forward about Weinstein really paved the way for them. ... I would also mention Aziz Ansari here, because although what he was accused of is quite different, obviously, from what, say, Harvey Weinstein was accused of, I think it was this sort of interesting watershed moment for #MeToo where we had to talk about, is this going to be about only workplace conduct or are we going to talk also about private relationships between men and women?"

"We've had a lot of high-profile dismissals. And I think a lot of people are asking what happens next."

Anna North

On trying to define the movement, and whether former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman falls under it

"I think, ultimately, this is a broad-based movement and people are going to sort of have their own definitions of what falls under it. But I think it's clearly a time when people are invested in talking about violence against women, as well as sexual harassment. And when people are invested in talking about all these kinds of power relationships — and the kinds of things that Schneiderman is accused of certainly amount to abuse of power — certainly, in that way, I think he falls in line with some of the other men we've seen accused."

On Bill Cosby

"In his case, he's now been convicted of a crime. Not every case that we've seen in #MeToo really involves activity that can be called criminal. But you also saw with a lot of those women, people saying, 'I thought we were going to get together and talk about my career,' or, 'I thought that he would help me.' And that's something a lot of women have said, really, about a lot of men who've been accused as part of #MeToo, that they thought that they were going to get career help, and instead what they got was something really different."

On other industries potentially left out of this movement

"I have heard that about Wall Street, too. And I think the law is another one that we've kind of heard of. And I'll also say there's been a fair amount of coverage of industries like hospitality, agriculture, restaurants and hotels. At the same time, sometimes that coverage doesn't break through in the same way that sort of a big expose about a celebrity can. And it's also true that when the alleged harasser or the alleged abuser is not famous, I think that can be harder to kind of get people to pay attention. So if it's like a hotel guest or a restaurant patron who's harassing his waitress, I think sometimes that's harder to get that big, splashy expose that everybody reads."

On the political landscape of #MeToo, including accusations against Roy Moore and President Trump

"Moore, I think, remains defiant despite his loss, and of course Trump is still in the White House. I think that's something that has been brought up a lot. I think the fact that Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct now by ... I think it's 19 women, and has ultimately faced relatively few consequences for those accusations, although he's now being sued not just by Stormy Daniels, who doesn't alleged misconduct, but he's also being sued by Summer Zervos, who does allege some sexual misconduct. And that case might actually open up some cans of worms for Trump down the road.

"I think this has been very frustrating for a number of people that I've talked to. It's very frustrating to see. This, in some ways, the most powerful person in the country almost standing apart from #MeToo and not not facing anything. At the same time I think there's a valid question to ask: Just because Trump is still in the White House, does that mean that men like [former Minnesota Sen.] Al Franken shouldn't face consequences for what they're accused of? I'm not sure Trump provides an excuse for other men in that way."

"I think it's clearly a time when people are invested in talking about violence against women, as well as sexual harassment."

Anna North

On whether we're seeing broader social change

"I certainly hope that we have, and I hope that we will. I think we're starting to see certain things. One thing I've been looking at a lot is workplaces that have had high-profile #MeToo dismissals and what they're doing to change their practices. Because a lot of times, as we've seen, it's not just one bad apple. There's often a systemic problem and there's often people that enable that person and look the other way. And we've seen some workplaces take steps.

"So, for instance, Mario Batali['s] restaurant group that he has now stepped away from in the wake of his misconduct allegations. They have taken steps to put prominent women in charge. They're doing sort of an overhaul of their HR. We'll see what comes of it. But in terms of if you're an employee at that restaurant group, I think it's possible that things could get better for you. And then at other places there's been a real range, from maybe throwing an extra sexual harassment training at the problem, to having a serious reckoning. And I think over the next months and years we're going to see which companies are going to take this really seriously and which are going to try to sweep it under the rug."

This segment aired on May 22, 2018.

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