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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Hundreds join Hollywood #MeToo march

It follows relentless series of accusations by men and women who said they were victimised by high-powered figures in the entertainment industry

A demonstrator takes part in a #MeToo protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A demonstrator takes part in a #MeToo protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Hundreds have marched in Hollywood to show their support of victims of sexual assault and harassment - as inspired by the #MeToo social media campaign.

The march follows a wave of assault and harassment allegations against public figures, from Hollywood to the heart of British parliament. The starting gun for the revelations was set off by women speaking out about the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The demonstrators, who were mostly women, started on Hollywood Boulevard and walked along the "Walk of Fame" to CNN's headquarters.

Tara McNamarra, 21, of Los Angeles, told Reuters news agency that the march felt cleansing after years of not being taken seriously about abuse.

"I've been sexually assaulted multiple times throughout my life," she said. "It's affected me in every aspect of my life."

She said the march was cleansing after years of not being taken seriously about having been abused.

Women made up a majority of the crowd, although men made a strong showing of support.

The #MeToo march and rally followed a relentless series of accusations by men and women who said they were victimised by high-powered figures in the entertainment industry. But marchers said they also represented men and women who had been sexually abused as children and in other situations.

Steven Murphy, 51, of Los Angeles, said he regularly witnessed sexual harassment while working as an accountant in the healthcare industry.

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“I’ve had personal experiences of friends, of co-workers who were harassed, and nothing ever came of it,” Murphy said. “They were made out to be the guilty ones. They were pressured and harassed by the company for speaking out against assault and sexual harassment in the workplace.”

The marchers started at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, walking along the noted “Walk of Fame” until they reached the Los Angeles headquarters of news network CNN at Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevards.

Along the way, participants noted the stars of actors and producers accused of sexual harassment.

The allegations have inspired an online campaign, tagged #MeToo, that has encouraged men and women in all walks of life to reveal their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault, often years after they occurred.

Among the most recent allegations, five women detailed sexual misconduct accusations against Emmy-winning comedian Louis C.K. in The New York Times on Thursday. He admitted to the misconduct alleged against him in a statement on Friday and apologised for his actions.

More than 50 women have said that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades. Mr Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.