Samantha Bee marked the second anniversary of the #MeToo movement with a special “Food Day of Gratitude” meal — definitely not a Thanksgiving feast — on Full Frontal Wednesday. The segment featured an interview with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, as well as a roundtable with various journalists and activists fighting on behalf of sexual assault.
While Burke began using the phrase “Me Too” to discuss sexual harassment and assault on social media in 2006, the hashtag took off in 2017 after the revelation of the numerous allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Two years later, Burke spoke about the misconceptions around #MeToo, saying it’s “a movement to support survivors and to end sexual violence. The way we define it is as a public health crisis. There were 12 million people who responded to the hashtag in 24 hours — imagine if we woke up tomorrow and 12 million people came forward and said they had some rare disease?”
Burke also mentioned that — in light of the two year anniversary of #MeToo — she’d been fielding plenty of media requests, but often denied them because she was being asked to discuss what the road back for men accused of sexual assault and harassment might look like. When Burke noted that we should be “thanking survivors and the people who support this movement,” Bee had the brilliant idea to host a “lovely autumnal meal” for exactly those people, calling the event, “Sam’s Food Day of Gratitude.”
Bee cooked three turkeys for her feast — Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly (“The other white meat”) and Mario Batali (a turkey outfitted with Crocs) — and invited journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, Know My Name author Chanel Miller and National Domestic Workers Alliance organizer June Barrett.
The conversation touched on the difficulties survivors face in reclaiming their narratives and the ways they inspire other women to come forward, but also the systems that are still in place to make sure women remain quiet about sexual assault. Kantor also spoke about the necessary next steps, pointing out, “I think it’s weird, given that we’ve all been talking about #MeToo for two years, but there’s not that much serious discussion of, say, how federal sexual harassment laws are incredibly weak.”
To that end, Burke noted that she’d started a new hashtag, #MeTooVoter with the aim of pushing for a presidential candidate “who will legislate and protect people from sexual violence, and also provide resources for people who have experienced it.” She added, “Nobody has spoken to that.”
Bee then quipped that that sounded like an idea Joe Biden would really like to “grab by the shoulders and discuss intensely.” With a laugh Burke cut in, “Don’t get me started on Joe Biden — bless his heart.”