As #MeToo survivors share their experiences of sexual assault and domestic violence, many have faced retaliatory lawsuits. The power imbalance between survivors and alleged assailants is especially apparent in the revelations involving high profile men in Hollywood and the public eye.
Examples abound: Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Alabama politician Roy Moore, former Fox News commentator Eric Bolling, Lance Armstrong, and more.
In February 2018, a federal judge in Hawaii declined to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by film producer Brett Ratner against Melanie Kohler, one of several women who has accused him of sexual assault. Ms. Kohler posted allegations of sexual assault on Facebook, but removed the post within hours after receiving a threat from Mr. Ratner’s lawyer. After other allegations against Mr. Ratner arose, he chose to sue only Ms. Kohler, arguing that Ms. Kohler’s accusations had damaged his reputation and hurt him financially. Trial is now scheduled for March 2019, although it is possible that California’s anti-SLAPP law will still apply. The case helped to catalyze the creation of Time’s Up, a legal defense fund for women.