After over 60 women came forward to accuse legendary movie producer Harvey Weinstein of crimes ranging from sexual harassment to rape, people were horrified that he got away with such disgusting behavior for so long. But as many quickly pointed out to those who couldn't believe it, most women have experienced harassment or assault, which led to the #MeToo hashtag. It's a way to expose just how widespread of an issue it is — and it's led to the downfall of many other famous men who have been accused of being harassers or rapists.
It's been difficult to see figures we have may loved or respected be accused of such horrific behavior, but in many cases, it wasn't exactly shocking. Just consider these men who have been the subject of someone's #MeToo story. Sadly, it isn't the first time we've heard rumors — or have seen straight up evidence — of violent or problematic behavior from them.
While people can (and do!) change, these stories were red flags that these men weren't exactly feminist icons before #MeToo:
After winning the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical, Twitter erupted as woman after woman whispered about James Franco, accusing him of everything from preying on underage girls to forcing a girlfriend into oral sex to exploiting female students at his acting school. A LA Times article later shared stories from five women accusing the actor of "sexually exploitive behavior."
But this wasn't the first time Franco's sexual misdeeds went public. Back in 2014, leaked screenshots revealed he flirted with a 17-year-old girl on Instagram when he was 35. In the string of messages, Franco asked when her birthday was and whether she wanted to get a hotel room. After the messages were leaked, Franco apologized and chalked it up to being new at social media. But chasing after a girl he knew was only 17 left a bad taste in plenty of people's mouths.
After Harvey Weinstein was accused of harassing, assaulting and raping numerous women, Ben Affleck issued a statement condemning the infamous producer, who helped launch his career by promoting his movie "Good Will Hunting."
However, one Twitter user pointed out that Affleck should've stayed quiet: "He also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on "TRL" once. Everyone forgot though.” But Burton quickly wrote back about the incident, which was documented in a "TRL" reel, “I didn’t forget.... I was a kid."
Affleck tweeted out a brief apology to Burton, but didn't respond to another woman, Annamarie Tendler, who tweeted, “I would also love to get an apology from Ben Affleck who grabbed my ass at a Golden Globes party in 2014." Tendler is a makeup artist and the wife of comedian John Mulaney.
But Affleck groping women isn't surprising in light of the way he's consistently championed his younger brother, Casey, who's settled sexual harassment suits with two different women. During Casey's Oscars push for "Manchester By The Sea" in 2016 and 2017, Affleck was constantly by his side, doing everything he could to help his brother get an Academy Award. He seemed to help Casey push the scandal under the rug, which is definitely at odds with his message about supporting women who speak out.
When "Rent" star Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed Spacey had made sexual advances toward him when he was 14, it led to an avalanche of accusations. Other men were quick to share stories of Spacey assaulting and harassing them when they were underage as well.
Spacey was long rumored to be gay, and you'll find plenty of old jokes about Spacey being in the closet all over the internet, but there were also plenty of allusions to the idea Spacey was inappropriate with young men. Consider this 2005 episode of "Family Guy," where a naked Stewie runs across the mall shouting, "Help! I've just escaped from Kevin Spacey's basement!" "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlene said it wasn't a joke he pitched, but other writers explained the joke to him as a common rumor they'd heard — all the way back in 2005.
The LA Times reported producer Brett Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by six different women, but it shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone following his career, as it wasn't even the first time these sexual harassment accusations surfaced: Olivia Munn told us all about his gross, predatory ways in her 2010 book, "Suck It, Wonder Woman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek."
According to Munn, she was asked to bring food to his trailer and told he wouldn't be there. But when she walked in, he was pantless and eating a shrimp cocktail while masturbating, ejaculating when she walked in. She didn't name him in the book, but a year later Ratner publicly bragged about it being him, insisting he had "banged" Munn a few times. He then told Howard Stern just a few days later he had lied about them ever having sexual relations.
Rumors about fashion photographer Terry Richardson have been around ever since 2001 — in fact, several models have gone on the record about their awful experiences with him. He's been accused of pressuring numerous models into getting naked and performing sexual acts on him. In a 2010 article for The Gloss, model Jamie Peck wrote about him asking her to take her tampon out and suggesting she touch his penis. In 2014, an anonymous model wrote an essay for Jezebel where she alleged Richardson jabbed his penis into her face.
However, it took all the way until 2017, after the #MeToo movement began, for Conde Nast US to announce it would no longer work with the photographer.
If you had read anything online about comedian Louis C.K. before 2017, you had probably heard rumblings about his inappropriate behavior with women. Whispers about him masturbating in front of female comedians were publicized on the internet long before The New York Times published its investigation, in which five separate women accused him of sexual misconduct. C.K. quickly released a statement apologizing for his behavior.
But before the report, C.K. refused to speak about the rumors. A 2012 Gawker blind item spoke about a comedian masturbating in front of two young female comedians at a comedy festival, and commenters quickly identified the perpetrator as C.K., all describing various stories they had heard about C.K. committing similar acts. C.K. continued to dismiss it as rumors, even after former friend and comedian Tig Notaro called him out in summer 2017 and said he "needed to handle it." However, C.K. chose not to until he had no other choice.
Harvey Weinstein's record of abuse, harassment, and rape is shocking: Over 60 women have come forward with tales about Weinstein's horrifying behavior, including famous stars like Salma Hayek, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie. It's hard to fathom how many lives Weinstein affected and how he was able to operate for decades preying on actresses without being caught. But Weinstein's crimes were often alluded to well before The New Yorker and The New York Times released their bombshell exposes.
Just consider the recently-resurfaced video of Courtney Love on a 2005 red carpet saying her advice for young actresses is to turn down any hotel invitations from Harvey Weinstein. Or the time Seth MacFarlene cracked this joke while announcing the Best Actress nominees for the 2013 Oscars: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” Or the 2012 episode of "30 Rock" where the character Jenna Maroney, an actress, insists, “I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions… out of five.”
Plenty of people felt like journalist and longtime NBC "Today" host Matt Lauer was like America's father, a figure who could be trusted and respected. So when he was fired from NBC in November 2017 after a fellow employee reported he sexually harassed her at the 2014 Winter Olympics, it was a shocking blow for many — including his co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, who had to tearfully announce the news of his firing. Variety would later report at least 10 other coworkers had accused him of harassment.
But not everyone was caught off guard by his firing. After all, Laur had made plenty of enemies for his treatment of Ann Curry back in 2011, when she became his cohost. Rumors of him bullying her and actively trying to force her out quickly spread, and she ended up leaving a year later, tearfully announcing the move on live TV.
When asked recently about Laur's firing, Curry simply said she wasn't surprised by the allegations and noted there was a culture of harassment.
Dustin Hoffman also became the subject of sexual harassment allegations in late 2017, with several women recounting negative experiences with the actor. One woman said he forced her to give him a foot massage and showed his penis to her, and another woman alleged he repeatedly grabbed her breasts while they were performing in a play together. Other women came forward with stories of assault as well.
But his original accuser? Meryl Streep, all the way back in 1979. In an interview with Time, she recounted meeting Dustin Hoffman (who would go on to costar with her in "Kramer vs Kramer") when she auditioned for a play he was directing. ‘I’m Dustin—burp—Hoffman,’ and he put his hand on my breast. What an obnoxious pig, I thought," is how she described the meeting.
The old interview resurfaced after the newer claims against Hoffman, although Streep's reps released a statement saying the article was not "an accurate rendering of the meeting," although they noted there was an offense, but Hoffman apologized.
Aziz Ansari became the face of a new aspect of #MeToo, which had previously been focused more on clearer instances of rape, assault, and harassment, especially in regards to the workplace. But after an anonymous woman published an account on babe.net of a date with Aziz Ansari, the internet exploded and the conversation turned to the grayer areas of consent.
The woman, who is called Grace throughout the story, alleges she went on a date with Ansari, where he repeatedly tried to pull her hand toward his penis, ignored her various requests to "slow down," continued to try to engage in sexual activity after she made her discomfort known, and made her feel like she couldn't leave the apartment. She texted him the next day to let him know his behavior wasn't OK. He would later confirm that they had gone on a date and he had gotten that text message, but was confused by it, as he thought everything had been fine. While the consensus on the Ansari situation is far from clear, it's obvious Grace's story has sparked an important conversation about what actually constitutes as consent.
Many pointed out Ansari had been outed as a hypocrite as he was once praised for his feminism. But Ansari had previously shown his hypocritical side before, while talking about an episode of his show, "Master of None," where his character makes a citizen's arrest after catching a guy masturbating on the subway. Ansari said the episode was inspired by all the stories he'd heard about sexual harassment, but when asked about the Louis C.K. rumors (aka that C.K. masturbated in front of unwilling women) Ansari tersely made it clear he wouldn't talk about it. He was very happy to talk about sexual harassment unrelated to him, but seemingly couldn't bring himself to condemn it coming from a friend.
Seven different women have come forward with stories about the "Entourage" star sexually harassing them. It all started when actress Ariane Bellamar sent out a tweet claiming he grabbed her breasts. From there, more allegations came, including one from an advertising executive Tiffany Bacon Scourby who claimed he "exposed his genitals, held her hands down and began rubbing against her body until he ejaculated" back in 2003. A BuzzFeed article came out in January detailing the experiences of three other women accusing him of assault. Piven has denied all the claims.
But Piven has long been notorious for bad behavior. Rumors about him being rude and a bully have circulated for years (and the incident where he abruptly walked away from a Broadway play claiming he was ill from "mercury poisoning" didn't help), but the biggest red flag was his behavior with his ex-girlfriend Kate Nardi. After Pretentious Pocket owner Justin Lee Ross started dating Kate Nardi, he took to Facebook to claim Piven was harassing Nardi and acting "creepy," sending her endless texts, which Nardi confirmed. Piven didn't comment on the situation.