Can You Be My Witness?

How Social Media Stripped Hollywood & The Music Industry

Eye logo for the I Am A Witness campaign promoted by The Ad Council - article banner

 

The world has changed drastically in the last few years. If you look at the way you communicate now and compare it to how you used to do it 5 or 10 years ago, what do you see? Mobile changed your life. Social media changed your life. And the two of them together are a powerful combo that connect us to everyone, everywhere, at every time. There has never been a better time for you to speak your mind. You have the means, you have the power. Nobody caresin the sense that most people will accept or respect what you’re doingand everyone caresyour problem, your world view is now public domain.

In the last two years we’ve been witnessing this phenomenon in which giant industries, like music and cinema, fall at the sake of social media rampage. Scandals like Chris Brown’s domestic violence outbreak, Kesha’s court case against producer Dr. Luke, Weinstein’s victims of abuse finally speaking up. The #MeToo movement giving voice to thousands of women. The dirt has been dug out. Celebrities themselves are now vocal about injustice and industry moguls’ misdemeanor, while before it would have been safer to remain quiet. 

Social media has helped artists have a voice beyond their character. It has allowed them to be vulnerable and make us, common mortals, understand that fairytales can be painted black. We’re here on the other side of the screen, acting as their witnesses. 

Let’s look at a few examples. 

 

1. #FreeKesha campaign

It all started when pop singer/songwriter Kesha was denied by court ruling the termination of her contract with the allegedly abusive producer Dr. Luke. When Kesha’s Animals (fans) heard about it, they felt outraged and tweets started to pour in alongside actual demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court. 

Fellow stars and musicians, like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Lorde and Wale, also expressed their support on Twitter adding weight to an already emotionally heavy discussion. Despite any court decisions, Kesha managed to stir up the public’s consciousness and raise awareness about sexual abuse in the industry. Besides, Dr. Luke has now been removed from his position as CEO of Sony’s Kemosabe records. All of this through social media and the loving support of her fans who quickly made #FreeKesha a trending topic.

 

Celebrities Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato and Lorde on social media tweeting in support for Kesha

 

2. Live: Witness World Wide

Katy Perry Witness World Wide show live on YouTube

Katy Perry’s 3 day YouTube livestream showed us a more vulnerable side to the singer. Was the whole thing staged and unauthentic? Perhaps. However, Katy’s psychological issues came up, generating a wave of empathy and empowering a lot of people in the same situation to raise above depression. 

I feel ashamed that I would have those thoughts [suicidal thoughts], feel that low and that depressed.in Rolling Stone, June 2017.

Again, social media opened a door to discuss something that matters and proving that not everything we see is as perfect as it is. 

 

3. The Weinstein Scandal

The New York Times online article about Weinstein's sexual harrassment scandal

Allegations of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein recently came to light on a New York Times article. Since then many women from the movie industry have spoken about it on Twitter and other channels, describing the disgusting acts committed by the producer. The list of women that accused Weinstein of such depraved acts is as long as 50, reflecting years of abusive behavior. Social media proved to be effective in amplifying the news and bringing in justice at a pace never achieved before. Here’s how much impact it has had so far:

  • Weinstein’s facing the possibility of jail time 
  • The producer has been fired from his own companyThe Weinstein Company 
  • The Weinstein Company’s new film has completely flopped in the US after the scandal

And many other consequences.

 

4. The #MeToo Movement: The Silence Breakers

Cover of Time magazine with spokeswomen for the social media viral #metoo movement

 

Emboldened by Ashley Judd, the first to publicly speak up against Harvey Weinstein’s behavior, women everywhere raised their voices about inappropriate or even ilegal situations they’ve faced. Even though everything began with a Hollywood star, women and men all over the world, from different backgrounds, joined in telling their stories. All followed by the now viral hashtag #MeToo

The movement (honored last Sunday, January 7th, at the Golden Globes 2018) scaled to proportions never before imagined, and its impact in people’s lives, consciousness and in society is notorious. Actresses, hospital workers, activists, singers, strawberry pickers, journalists, housekeepers, among many others. They all share horribly similar stories of sexual and psychological harassment. 

The #MeToo movement gave them a voice.

The world became their witness.

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Is the world a better place with social media? Not entirely sure. However, it is undeniable the impact that its right use has in the world as we see it. It changes our perceptions, moves us towards collaboration and support, and… 

…what was previously done in the dark is now brought to light, shedding a glimmer of justice where there was none. 

 


 

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By |2018-03-04T15:50:25+00:00January 9th, 2018|Digital, Marketing, Music, Social Media|

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