Alyssa Milano has rebranded herself as a Twitter activist and Democratic party booster since her acting career peaked with the late 90s TV hit Charmed. Thanks in part no doubt to her husband’s powerful connections in the entertainment industry (he’s a managing partner at CAA, a top-tier rep agency in Los Angeles) she’s leveraged her voice onto cable news, podcasts and into political campaigns. She is the celebrity perhaps most responsible for the mainstreaming the #MeToo movement.
Her zenith as an activist came in 2018, during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Milano was the most recognizable face behind the justice during the controversial confirmation hearings in which he faced thinly-sourced and circumstantial sexual assault allegations. The actress could be seen everyday weeping or scowling depending on who was asking or answering. She held a sign that read ‘believe survivors’.
But like many #MeToo banner-wavers, Milano has been outed as little more than a rank partisan, simply defending her team when accusations emerge against someone they represent or have endorsed. Yesterday Milano spoke out on a podcast about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden, from his former staffer Tara Reade. Biden, like Kavanaugh before him, has denied them.
Reade’s accusation has gone ignored in mainstream media thus far, so I guess Milano deserves credit for addressing them before NBC, CNN, CBS or ABC. Milano announced on Twitter that she will remain loyal to her endorsement of Biden, stating her belief in due process (all of a sudden). She continued her thoughts in a series of tweets that don’t exactly inspire confidence in said newfound love of due process:
‘There is something to the idea that people are going to weaponize #metoo for political gain. Just look at the replies here and look to see who those accounts are supporting in the primary. There always needs to be a thorough vetting of accusations. I believe, along with many others in this space, that accusations need to be investigated with due process for the accused. This is the only way for the movement to work & create the change we are fighting for. Anything less puts the entire movement and women’s equality at risk.’
She then vanished from Twitter on the topic. But it’s not going to be so easy for her. Back in September 2018, she tweeted, among other damning things, ‘You can’t pretend to be the party of the American people and then not support a woman who comes forward with her #MeToo story.’ In 2017 she demanded ‘Zero Tolerance’. Earlier this year, when she was considering backing Andrew Yang, she pulled out of a fundraiser, citing sexual assault allegations against an aide for Yang.
The message from Milano is loud and clear: the rules of holding powerful men accountable to alleged victims no longer apply when it’s Her Guy. This will be the death knell in what’s left of the online #MeToo movement. Milano has depended on her media connections for cover; in contrast her Charmed co-star Rose McGowan has squarely blamed the media for aiding in years-long cover-ups of men like Harvey Weinstein.
McGowan, a much more vocal critic than Milano, blasted her former co-star on Twitter: ‘You are a fraud. This is about holding the media accountable. You go after Trump & Kavanaugh saying Believe Victims, you are a lie. You have always been a lie. The corrupt DNC is in on the smear job of Tara Reade, so are you. SHAME.’
In response, Milano wrote, ‘I continue to support you and applaud your bravery as well as acknowledge all the people you have helped along the way, @Rosemcgowan. Be well and stay safe.’
McGowan, despite being at the center of the Ronan Farrow New Yorker story that helped kick off the massive #MeToo movement, was quickly cast aside for the more media-friendly Milano. As it turns out, McGowan is the only one with her credibility left intact, as she insists the problem isn’t alleged wrongdoers like Brett Kavanaugh or Joe Biden, but the institutional system that covers for them.
By belatedly discovering the importance of due process when it was politically expedient, Alyssa Milano has signed her movement’s death warrant. RIP, #MeToo.