In a recent interview, Lindsay Lohan shared her thoughts on the #MeToo movement—and much of what she had to say was problematic at best. The actress and soon-to-be reality star prefaced her comments by saying that she is “very supportive of women,” but then went on to say she believes the movement makes women look “weak.”
“I don’t really have anything to say,” Lohan told The Times on August 4th. “I can’t speak on something I didn’t live, right? Look, I am very supportive of women. Everyone goes through their own experiences in their own ways.”
Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear: Women—and all victims—who speak up about sexual harassment or assault are not weak; in fact, they are incredibly strong and brave. Victims who come forward not only must relive the trauma of their experience in a very public forum, but they’re often subjected to intense public doubt, scrutiny, and, in many cases, anger and slut-shaming. It’s a major reason so many rape and assaults go unreported every single day. Lohan’s comments reveal a profound misunderstanding of what speaking up entails.
Lohan is unfortunately only one of a number of recent celebrities to imply that many women who come forward are merely seeking fame or attention. On August 8th, Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell told TMZ he believes Nick Carter’s accuser, Melissa Schuman, is just a “fame seeker.”
Even “progressive” celebrities have displayed potentially dangerous levels of ignorance on the subject. Girls creator Lena Dunham immediately came out in defense of friend and Girls writer Murray Miller when actress Aurora Perrineau accused him of rape. While Dunham later apologized for her initial response, it goes to show how deeply ingrained doubting women who come forward is in our culture.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only 2-10% of all sexual assault cases are falsely reported, whereas 63% of sexual assault cases are never reported at all.
As disappointed as we are in Lohan’s words, we can’t say we’re completely surprised. She infamously asked followers to “stand up” for Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.
Just a few days later, on Sunday, August 12th, Lohan apologized for her comments.
We sincerely hope that Lohan uses this as an opportunity to educate herself on the facts surrounding victims of sexual misconduct. She has a powerful platform, and words matter.