The headlines alone are dizzying. Since the New York Times reported allegations of serial predation by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein a year ago, at least 425 prominent people across industries have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, a broad range of behavior that spans from serial rape to lewd comments and abuse of power.
That’s more than one newly reported person facing accusations each day, on average, for the last 12 months.
Hundreds of alleged bad actors—the vast majority men—were fired, resigned or faced other professional consequences. Some have apologized for specific actions or acknowledged vague, hypothetical offenses in more general ways. Others have held firmly to their jobs, their offices, their star power. Many have denied any wrongdoing or questioned the motives of their accusers.
This tally of 429 people is a conservative accounting. The data, compiled by Bloomberg, are limited to publicly reported allegations of sex-related bad behavior in national, state and local media, trade publications and the public record. The data omit alleged instances of broader gender discrimination, non-sexual bullying and racial insensitivity, though the #MeToo movement has lowered tolerance for all kinds of crass and damaging behaviors.
A broader data set kept by crisis consultant Davia Temin puts the number of alleged bad actors at more than 800. “All of this matters because it shows the socialization and acceptance of reporting these kinds of instances,” said Temin, who has tasked two staff members with keeping track. “Numbers matter. They really do. I’m not going to stop.”
This is, of course, far from the first time women have spoken up about sexual harassment. Anita Hill described being sexually harassed by then-nominee Clarence Thomas at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing 27 years ago next week, and that painful scene recurred last week, when Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testified to Congress that the sexual assault allegations against him were a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”
Encouraging women to describe their experiences and say “me too” dates to a 2007 campaign created by Tarana Burke, a Brooklyn, New York-based advocate for gender equity. Weinstein wasn’t even the first powerful man to face consequences a decade later. Earlier in 2017, embattled Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick resigned following a female engineer’s detailed description of a workplace culture where sexual harassment was all too common.
Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly left the network in April after several years of harassment allegations and settlements with accusers, one for a whopping $32 million. Weinstein and O’Reilly denied wrongdoing. Kalanick has apologized for his behavior at the company.
In October, the dam broke. Days after Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and other actors accused Weinstein of decades of sexual assault and harassment cosseted by his power in Hollywood, actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter a call for women to share their own stories of sexual harassment and to tag them #MeToo. The next day, 609,000 posts carried that hashtag, according to Meltwater, which tracks social media impact.