The 75th annual Golden Globe Awards took place Sunday night and, as pointed out by host Seth Meyers, there was not an elephant in the room. While heavyweight producer and alleged sexual assaulter Harvey Weinstein wasn’t physically in attendance at the Globes, many of his victims were and the impact his decades of abuse on the women of Hollywood was felt throughout the evening.
In the weeks that followed the October 2017 New York Times article that broke the Weinstein story, more women and men began speaking out against other Hollywood A-listers who used their positions of power to harass and assault others in the industry. Out of the stories of assault and abuse, the Time’s Up movement was born in January, with actors pledging to stand united with men and women in all industries to help stop assault and abuse.
The Golden Globes marked the first major Hollywood award show since the Weinstein scandal broke and the Time’s Up movement began. Sunday night’s show promised to be a night of social change, with those in attendance pledging to wear black in support of the Time’s Up movement. But the messages of support didn’t end with the best dressed list.
The Time’s Up declarations started early, with the red carpet a sea of black gowns in support of the movement. Even before the awards were handed out, speeches were already political, with Debra Messing and Eva Longoria using their E! red carpet interviews to encourage the station to hire host Catt Sadler back for equal pay. Sadler left the channel in December after reportedly learning that her male co-star Jason Kennedy was making twice as much as her current salary.
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) January 7, 2018
Viola Davis gave a stunning answer on the red carpet when asked why she was supporting the Time’s Up movement, reminding women and people everywhere that they are born worthy and not deemed worthless by things that happen to them.
Host Seth Meyers kept his monologue focused on the Time’s Up movement, opening his speech with the line “Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen.” As Meyers pointed out, “It’s 2018. Marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment isn’t. It’s gonna be a good year.”
Once inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the biggest story of the night wasn’t the winners, but clearly the Time’s Up movement. Eight of the actors who attended Sunday’s show, including Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Michelle Williams and Shailene Woodley, brought activists with them as their dates, including Tarana Burke, Marai Larasi, Rosa Clemente, Ai-jen Poo, Mónica Ramírez, Calina Lawrence, Billie Jean King and Saru Jayaraman. The eight activists released an official statement about their inclusion in the Hollywood event, saying “Our goal in attending the Golden Globes is to shift the focus back to survivors and on systemic, lasting solutions.”
But the biggest statement of the night came from the one and only Oprah Winfrey, who stole the show with her thoughtful and impassioned speech about gender equality. This year’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award, Winfrey used her stage time to spell out exactly why the Time’s Up movement is not only necessary, but long overdue.
Opening her speech with her experience as a young black girl seeing Sidney Poiter win a Golden Globe in 1964 for Lillies of the Field, Winfrey said “I had never seen a black man recognized like that before. What a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door, bone-tired from cleaning other peoples’ houses.”
Winfrey then spoke about being the first black woman to receive the Cecile B. DeMille Award and how so many people have struggled before her. “I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” said Winfrey. “They’re the women whose names we’ll never know.”
Reminding the audience in the theatre and at home about why the Time’s Up movement has been a long time coming, Winfrey spoke about Recy Taylor, a woman in Alabama who was raped and beaten by a group of men in 1944 and chose to speak up, though her attackers were never brought to justice. Taylor, who later went on to work with Rosa Parks, died only a few days ago, with Winfrey saying she hoped that Taylor saw the incredible Time’s Up movement she helped start decades ago.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” said Winfrey. “And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.”
Earning a standing ovation and cheer from the enraptured crowd, Winfrey continued, saying “A new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say #MeToo again.”
Earlier in the night, Meyers joked that he may be responsible for the current US President. “In 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Jokes about how he was unqualified to be president. Some have said that night convinced him to run,” said Meyers. “So if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes!”
Let’s hope Meyer’s latest joke has the same outcome. Oprah 2020.