In an interview with the Times meant to promote her upcoming Greece-set reality show, Lindsay Lohan made her thoughts known on the #MeToo movement, thoughts that underline a recurring problem with how we talk about those who come forward to report harassment and abuse.
Despite opening by saying that she “[didn’t] really have anything to say,” and that she didn’t think she could speak on something she hadn’t experienced, Lohan went on to do just that.
“I’m going to really hate myself for saying this,” Lohan told interviewer Simon Mills, “but I think by women speaking against all these things, it makes them look weak when they are very strong women.”
She also said that she believes some of the allegations of abuse are false. “You have these girls who come out, who don’t even know who they are, who do it for the attention,” she said, echoing one of the more pernicious myths used to discredit victims.
“If it happens at that moment, you discuss it at that moment,” she added. “You make it a real thing by making it a police report.” She offered up her own experiences as an example; though she said she had never “lived” the experiences of the women coming forward to report abuse and assault, she cited a physical fight between herself and an ex-fiancé, explaining that “the best revenge is success.”
With these statements, Lohan, who in October 2017 defended Harvey Weinstein in a since-deleted Instagram video, is amplifying harmful rhetoric that discourages those who have experienced sexual abuse or assault from speaking out, and reinforces the claim that false accusations are common. That very rhetoric contributes to the shame and fear that frequently keeps victims from reporting their abusers, a barrier to making abuse a “real thing” in Lohan’s view.
Lohan is far from alone in this kind of thinking. In a nationwide survey conducted by Vox and Morning Consult in March, 27 percent of women said that they were “very” worried about men being falsely accused, with another 36 percent saying they were “somewhat” worried. In truth, only 2-6 percent of cases of sexual violence in Europe and in the US are found or suspected to be false.
In other words, concerns of making accusations “for the attention” aren’t supported by fact — but they are supported and perpetuated by statements like Lohan’s.