About 500,000 people showed up for the Women's March in Los Angeles on Saturday. The attendees, along with those livestreaming from home, witnessed a powerful speech from actress Scarlett Johansson. In her speech, Johansson called out James Franco, who was accused of sexual misconduct yet publicly supported the Time's Up movement.
“How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power? I want my pin back, by the way,” said Johansson, one of the original 300 signatories of the Time’s Up letter calling for an end of abuse and harassment toward women. Although she never called out Franco by name, a rep confirmed to the LA Times that this comment was indeed directed at Franco.
Two weeks ago, Franco, who won a Golden Globe for his leading role in The Disaster Artist, wore a Time's Up pin while accepting the award. He received criticism from actress Ally Sheedy via Twitter during the awards, who wrote in now-deleted tweets, "Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much.” She continued, "James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.” A few days later, the LA Times published a story where five people accused Franco of sexual misconduct. Franco has denied these allegations.
In her speech, Johansson remembered her experiences as a young woman in Hollywood: “Suddenly I was 19 again and I began to remember all the men who had taken advantage of the fact that I was a young woman who didn’t yet have the tools to say no or understand the value of my own self-worth. I had many relationships, both personal and professional, where the power dynamic was so off that I had to create a narrative that I was the cool girl who could hang in and hang out, and that sometimes meant compromising what felt right for me.” The actress ended the speech on a hopeful hopeful note and said, "It gives me hope that we are moving towards a place where our sense of equality can truly come from within ourselves."
On Saturday, an estimated 4.9 million people came out to 673 marches across the globe. Attendees marched in support of equal rights for women, protection against sexual assault and harassment, immigrants and Dreamers, and voting in the 2018 midterm elections. In New York, powerful speeches were also given by Whoopi Goldberg and singer Halsey, who talked about being a survivor of sexual assault with a poem.