Every year the world waits with baited breath to see who TIME magazine have chosen for their prestigious ‘Person of the Year’ award. The controversial accolade is awarded to the person who has “for better or for worse… done the most to influence the events of the year.”
The award was not part of mainstream consciousness until last year when the magazine chose then president-elect Donald Trump as the famous face for their cover. The public outcry was almost deafening. How could such a prestigious award be given to a man who’d caused such bitter unrest across the world? To a leader who’d been accused of sexual assault, racism and fraud? However, Trump isn’t the most controversial figure to be honored by TIME. Back in 1938, the magazine named the Nazi Party leader, Adolf Hitler as ‘Person of the Year’, a mere year before he commenced with World War II. To add further insult to injury, they named the Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin as the title holder the following year, and again in 1942! So when the magazine unveiled their 2017 ‘Person of the Year’, the expectations were pretty low, especially considering the tumultuous year experienced in politics and the entertainment industry. Could there possibly be any good people left on this Earth? This year’s winner came in the form of ‘The Silence Breakers’, the men and women responsible for naming and shaming famous figures who’d abused their position of power to sexually exploit those in vulnerable positions. The accolade was represented by many of the women at the forefront of the movement, such as actress Ashley Judd and software engineer Susan Fowler. The article also spotlighted stars such as Terry Crews, Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan and Selma Blair. While many applauded this acknowledgment, others were less than impressed when they learned that the runner-up is Donald Trump. This year, TIME selected five runners-up alongside Trump, including the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, former FBI director, Robert Mueller and Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins. But, while many of these were truly deserving, some people had reservations about Trump’s eligibility. One person who did not hold back on raging against the decision was singer and actress, Demi Lovato. The 25-year-old former Disney star took to Twitter to voice her anger over the “hypocrisy”. Addressing her 52.7 million followers the brunette beauty wrote: “Time mag highlights brave women coming forward against sexual assault on the cover but names a man with sexual assault allegations against him runner up to person of the year.. Really TIME?
“I’ve become less vocal about my distain for certain people over the past year because it only divides our country even more but this is worth speaking up about. TIME mag – very disappointed in your hypocrisy and disrespect toward the women on your cover. [sic]”
“To be named POTY by TIME it should be for doing something positive or brave LIKE the women on the cover. It’s annoying that it’s just about impact on the news.” Many were quick to point out that TIME picks their winner based upon their impact within the news over the past year, but Demi was unapologetic with her outburst. Her view was echoed by Game of Thrones star, Sophie Turner. The British-born actress, who recently became engaged to Demi’s ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas, also voiced her disapproval of the decision. “Wait wait wait… Donald Trump as runner up for time magazine person of the year? I honestly have no words,” she wrote. “What an injustice and insult to the inspiring people on the cover to have a known sexual abuser as runner up.” It would appear that the mass verdict, regardless of TIME‘s insistence that the winner is selected based upon their influence, is that they were wrong to celebrate a group of men and women fighting against sexual abuse AND name a man who has had sexual assault allegations made against him. But, what do you think? Was it the right decision? Or, should TIME think a bit harder for next year?