Armed with signs, catchy phrases and a motivation to take #MeToo beyond the internet and into real life, a few hundred women, men, and children gathered Sunday among the sex shops and tourist traps of Hollywood Boulevard to protest sexual harassment.
The Take Back the Workplace March and the #MeToo Survivors March joined forces in the heart of Hollywood, near the entrance to the Dolby Theater where the Academy Awards take place. They walked side by side past the tourists, costume shops, strip clubs and a man wearing a “Whiskey Made Me Do It” T-shirt to gather for a rally of rousing speeches from the likes of Harvey Weinstein accuser Lauren Sivan and Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman.
“Not in pots, not in plants, keep your junk inside your pants,” the crowd chanted for a few minutes, before shifting gears to: “Harvey Weinstein is a joke, women workers just got woke.”
Other chants included, “Survivors United, we’ll never be divided” and “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no.’”
Some came with their families, some came with friends and attendees ranged in age from 4 to over 68. Aislinn Russell, a 15-year-old Los Angeles high school student came with two peers and signs railing against terms like “friend zone” and “slut.”
“Seeing the #metoo movement growing and seeing all these people telling their stories, I have my own stories too,” Russell said. “I want to join in with that and not be silent with everything going on.”
Her sign, drawn in pink and purple block letters read: “ ‘Slut’ is attacking women for their right to say yes.” Her friend’s read: “ ‘Friend Zone’ is attacking women for their right to say no.”
Another attendee, Nancy Allen, a 52-year-old woman from Los Angeles, carried a sign that read, “I was 7.”
“We’ve been silent too long,” Allen said. “A lot of people have kept this inside us for years and years.”
Howard Kim, a 68-year-old Los Angeles resident, came out to support the march.
“I’m just a little sorry there aren’t more people out here,” Kim said. “I was hoping there would be.”
Event organizers estimated there were about 200 to 300 attendees. But they also acknowledged that it was “difficult to tell” with the normal Hollywood Boulevard crowds.