Scarlett Johansson has been praised for delivering a powerful speech on Saturday at the Women’s March in LA.
In particular, she’s been applauded for calling out James Franco who is said to be a supporter of the Time’s Up movement.
When she addressed the 500,000 Women’s March attendees, who’d congregated in downtown Los Angeles, Johansson aimed the barb squarely at Franco.
How could a person publicly stand by an organisation that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?
I want my pin back, by the way.
There was speculation about whether Johansson had called out Franco or whether it was directed towards someone else, but the LA Times confirmed it was in fact the star of The Disaster Artist who Johansson was talking about.
Franco has been subjected to allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse of power by five different women, who’ve shared their stories as part of the #MeToo campaign.
Four of the accusers are former acting students of Franco’s and allege he pressured women to perform topless or in the nude.
The accusations include Franco allegedly removing plastic guards covering female actors’ genitals during sex scenes, as well as becoming angry when women would not perform nude or topless.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, one woman who alleges she was a victim of Franco said:
I feel there was an abuse of power and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women and a culture of women being replaceable.
Franco’s lawyer, Michael Plonsker, disputed all of the allegations levelled against the actor and Franco himself responded to the claims on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done. I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate.
But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.
If I have done something wrong, I will fix it – I have to.
These allegations became the subject of much media attention, which led to the comments made by Johansson during her speech before she went on to deliver a rousing and personal speech about her own experiences in the industry.
Suddenly I was 19 again and I began to remember all the men who had taken advantage of the fact that I was a young woman who didn’t yet have the tools to say no, or understand the value of my own self-worth.
I had many relationships both personal and professional where the power dynamic was so off that I had to create a narrative that I was the cool girl who could hang in and hang out, and that sometimes meant compromising what felt right for me.
No more pandering. No more feeling guilty about hurting someone’s feelings when something doesn’t feel right for me.
I have made a promise to myself to be responsible to my self, that in order to trust my instincts I must first respect them.
More people should follow the words of Scarlett in standing up for their own values in the face of abuse of power.