Why Was Gretchen Carlson Excluded From Time’s ‘Silence Breakers’?

Time Magazine named The Silence Breakers ― “the individuals who set off a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment” ― its Person of the Year for 2017 and, strangely, Gretchen Carlson was not one of those singled out.

In July 2016, the news anchor and author filed a lawsuit against then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Carlson’s allegations and suit incited mass media coverage, encouraging six more women to also accuse Ailes of sexual harassment.

Ailes resigned from his powerful post within weeks (and died this past May). Carlson has since become an advocate for speaking out against sexual harassment, even writing a book titled Be Fierce.

(Santiago Felipe via Getty Images)

The Time cover story discusses how the sexual misconduct allegations that emerged in early October against film executive Harvey Weinstein, including accounts from prominent actresses like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, launched a full-steam ahead movement of victims of sexual assault and harassment to come forward and name names.

“Emboldened by Judd, Rose McGowan and a host of other prominent accusers, women everywhere have begun to speak out about the inappropriate, abusive and in some cases illegal behavior they’ve faced,” reads the piece.

“When multiple harassment claims bring down a charmer like former Today show host Matt Lauer, women who thought they had no recourse see a new, wide-open door,” it continues. “When a movie star says #MeToo, it becomes easier to believe the cook who’s been quietly enduring for years.”

It’s likely Carlson wasn’t included as a silence breaker by Time because her story broke in 2016. But it struck many as a glaring omission that she’s not mentioned at all in Time’s original package.

Carlson has termed the Weinstein revelations a “watershed moment” and said  “this is the tipping point I’ve been working so hard for over the last 15 months. People are finally saying ‘enough.’”

She’s had a part in this whistleblowing moment, and Time should have recognized that. 

Carlson didn’t immediately respond for comment regarding her exclusion, but she posted about it on social media, saying “it’s ok” to those who have remarked on her not being included. She’s also sent well wishes to the silence breakers: 

“Congrats to all the women. When I jumped off the cliff in 2016 I could have never imagined we’d be here. Ironically today I introduce legislation to change…

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