Ellen DeGeneres is able to find the humor in most things, but on Thursday’s episode of her talk show, she got serious as she added her name to the growing list of Hollywood stars who have joined the #MeToo movement.
On Tuesday, the talk show host tweeted a simple “#MeToo” as part of the growing social media movement bringing solidarity to survivors of sexual harassment, assault and abuse. She addressed her decision to do so to her studio audience.
“I think it’s brave,” she said of the millions of individuals who have come forward to share their stories. “I think it’s important to speak out and not be shamed by anyone. It is not always easy, but we have to do that. That is why I posted and I will say it right now out loud – me too.”
One point that DeGeneres wanted to get across, however, was that the issue not strictly gendered, though many of the individuals making headlines for coming forward in recent days have been women, and specifically, women in Hollywood.
“This is not a male thing or a female thing,” she said. “It is not a Hollywood thing or a political thing. This is a human thing. And it happens in the workplace, it happens in families, it happens all over the world, and we are all the same. We all want the same thing – we want respect and love and kindness. And if I could have those three things – and a new iPhone 10 – I would be complete.”
The #MeToo movement was revived last week by Alyssa Milano after a friend suggested to her that something be done to show the pervasiveness of sexual assault in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s escalating scandal.
“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” she wrote on October 15th. Since then, more than 1.2 million tweets featuring the hashtag #MeToo have appeared on Twitter.
On Good Morning America Thursday, Milano echoed DeGeneres’ sentiments by calling the cycle of abuse and silence a “cultural issue” that needs to be confronted head-on.
“I just think it’s something that is so, so prevalent,” she said. “It is a cultural issue that I think we have to face, and women posting ‘Me Too’ – I think gave them the courage to not have to tell their story or not have to name their predator but to just stand in solidarity. And I think that the numbers are a testament to how powerful women can be when we do stand together and we are one.”
Milano declined to go into detail about her own experiences, but did tell GMA host Robin Roberts that she’s “been harassed so many times I can’t count. I’ve been assaulted.”
The actress also gave rightful credit to Tarana Burke, the woman who originally founded the movement back in 2006.
“What the ‘Me Too’ campaign really does – and what Tarana Burke – has really enabled us all to do – is really put the focus back on the victims: to give us a voice, to give us strength, to give us power,” she said. “And what that enables us to do is say, ‘No more. No more. We’re not going to put up with this anymore. We are going to be vocal until this stops. Not one more. It stops here.'”