Comedian Jim Jefferies was floored by the avalanche of women sharing stories of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations.
After laying into Weinstein in a raucous, wide-ranging monologue on "The Jim Jefferies Show," The Comedy Central host spent the segment's final minutes reflecting on his own ignorance and complicity in a culture that allows behavior like Weinstein's to exist.
"Now, I’ve been known to make the occasional inappropriate or sexist joke. My act is what you’d call an acquired taste. But I’ve always believed that my audience understood that those are jokes and don’t represent my actual beliefs. Then came the day when a large part of America was willing to write off pussy-grabbing as 'locker room talk,' and I started to rethink that. And if this latest news has made me realize anything, it’s that we as men have been incredibly ignorant about what’s happening right underneath our noses. The women who are now sharing their painful experiences are some of the richest, most powerful, and beloved women in the country, and if they’re fearful of speaking out, just imagine how hard it must be for every other woman in the world.
I was stupid to think that people like Harvey Weinstein were rare. Look at your Twitter and Facebook feeds this week, and you’ll see women sharing their own stories using the hashtag #MeToo. Chances are that every woman you know has experienced harassment or worse. I thought I was a pretty good guy, what with all the not raping I’ve done, but it turns out, that’s not enough. It’s a start, but it’s not enough. We need to create a culture where women feel safe coming forward about their experiences, and when they do, we need to hear them. Every week on this show I say, 'I think we can do better.' I know I can."
For Jefferies, the pressure the "do better" wouldn't be as strong without millions of women outing themselves as survivors.
The hashtag #MeToo has been posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram more than 12 million times, helped along by celebrities like Alyssa Milano, who urged women to come forward to convey a "sense of the magnitude of the problem."