Sex harassment claims, from Hollywood to Westminster Sex harassment claims, from Hollywood to Westminster

Bombshell sexual harassment claims against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have unleashed a flood of similar allegations across the world.

After the British defence minister quit in a harassment scandal engulfing the country’s parliament, here is a recap of some of the major developments in the saga.

Weinstein claims revealed

The New York Times publishes on October 5 a report containing accusations of sexual harassment against Weinstein over nearly three decades.

The movie mogul issues an apology and announces he is taking leave.

An avalanche of similar claims against him emerges over the following weeks, including from more than two dozen actresses such as Rosanna Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie.

The New Yorker publishes new allegations on October 10, including from three women who say they were raped by Weinstein. He denies ever forcing himself on anyone.

Police in New York, Los Angeles, and London open criminal investigations.

Kicked out, banned

Days after the first claims emerge, Weinstein is fired as co-chairman of his film studio.

On October 11, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) suspends Weinstein’s membership immediately.

He is expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, the following day.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron says he will revoke the prestigious Legion d’Honneur presented to Weinstein in 2012.

At the end of the month, the Producers Guild of America announces it has banned Weinstein for life.

#metoo, #balancetonporc

The #metoo hashtag debuts on Twitter mid-October and snowballs into an online movement as women across the world reveal their own experiences of sexual harassment.

It is used more than 1.7 million times in just five days, according to the French social media monitoring platform Visibrain.

The hashtag is retweeted by known figures, such as Monica Lewinsky, at the centre of a sex scandal in the 1990s involving former US President Bill Clinton, but also by thousands of ordinary women across the world.

Others emerge such as #balancetonporc (“Rat out your pig”) in French and #quellavoltache (“The time that”) in Italian.

The campaign leads to allegations against a former USA Gymnastics team doctor, a South African football chief and a prominent French Islamic scholar.

More claims in Hollywood

US actor Anthony Rapp reveals late October that “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey made sexual advances on him when he was a teenager, about 30 years ago.

Days later, a Mexican actor makes similar allegations against Spacey.

Streaming platform Netflix confirms it will not be renewing House of Cards, although the decision had been made before the allegations against Spacey.

Allegations also emerge against Hollywood directors Brett Ratner and James Toback, and actor Dustin Hoffman.

British minister quits

Following renewed scrutiny prompted by the Weinstein affair, claims of a culture of sexual harassment mount in the British parliament.

Prime Minister Theresa May calls for tougher rules governing MPs’ conduct after a minister is accused of asking his secretary to buy sex toys.

Some of the allegations are directed at the defence minister, Michael Fallon.

He quits late Wednesday, saying some of the claims are false but he had “fallen below the high standards that we require of the armed forces”.

Fallon had earlier apologised for putting his hand on the knee of a journalist in 2002; she says she doubts his resignation is based solely on that incident. (AFP)

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