The #MeToo movement was initially founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke, an American social activist who started the movement to raise awareness for victims of sexual abuse. The movement became noticeable around late 2017 when famous actresses in the film industry began to share their experiences with sexual harassment/abuse. This movement became a union for women of different social classes, who have experienced any form of sexual harassment.
Through the #MeToo movement, predators like movie director/producer Harvey Weinstein, singer R. Kelly and many more were exposed and faced criminal charges with the law. However, the MeToo movement has slowly and gradually shifted from its original purpose to being misused.
In a study conducted by Forbes magazine, “between 150 and 750 people were falsely accused in 2019”; which means that between 150 and 750 people could have “had their careers ended, their reputations destroyed, and years of hard work, come to a grinding halt when they did not deserve it especially if the presumption is that they are guilty without a fair process.”
Unfortunately, there are many more cases of false accusations flowing around the mainstream media which cheapens the #MeToo movements and spreads this false narrative that the movement is against men.
An example of a False accusation case is the most very recent case the #JusticeforJohnnydepp. In 2016, Johnny Depp was accused of physical abuse by his ex-wife and actress, Amber Heard.
Although Depp denied the allegations stating that, “Heard was attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse,” according to The Guardian, Heard ended up receiving a $7 million settlement from him.
Due to this situation, Depp was also removed from Pirates of the Carribean 6 on Disney. Later in 2020, Depp released a phone call recording of Amber Heard admitting to being the abusive one in the relationship. In the phone recordings that can be found on Youtube, Amber Heard stated, “Tell the world, Johnny! Tell them Johnny Depp, ‘I, Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim too of domestic abuse!’ And I, you know, it’s a fair fight. See how many people believe or side with you.” In other words this interprets into the ‘No one will believe you because you’re a man’ narrative.
Another example of a false accusation case is the Justin Bieber sexual-assault claims on Twitter. Unlike the Johnny Depp situation where everyone believed Heard, Justin Bieber was quick to rebuke those claims and even filed a $20 million lawsuit against the alleged victim Jane Doe, which is an alias name, over the assault that was said to be in 2014 and 2015.
However, the other two accusers never shared their true identity with the mainstream media outlets nor were they interviewed which begs the question on whether they were inspired by fame or were genuine about their accusations.
Lastly, the culture of sexual harassment/assault false accusations, have been circling over the internet which leads people to believe that the #MeToo movement is a spiteful plot towards men. It is important that we understand the main purpose of this movement is to encourage victims of sexual assault to share their story.
According to an interview with Tarana Burke hosted by the Guardian Magazine, Burke states, “My vision for the #MeToo movement is part of a collective vision to see a world free of sexual violence,” she said. “I believe we can build that world. Full stop.”