Actress and activist Alyssa Milano, one of the first proponents of the #MeToo hashtag when the movement launched one year ago Monday, said President Donald Trump‘s recent comments that it is “a very scary time for young men in America” was a fear tactic.
Referring to critics of #MeToo who say the movement encourages unproven sexual misconduct allegations against men, Milano told “Good Morning America” on Monday, “I don’t know why their concern isn’t that boys can also be hurt, molested and sexually assaulted.”
Milano, the mother of a daughter and a son, added, “I’m of course concerned for boys, but I’m not concerned for them in the way the president is concerned for men.”
She said comments like Trump’s are “fear tactics” in response to “white men’s” being in danger of losing some of their power in society.
Milano also acknowledged, “Women have had it hard for generations and there are going to be false claims. We have to define what that process looks like” and make sure everyone, including the accused get a “fair shot … This is all gray area, new territory that we’ve never faced before,” she said.
The former “Who’s the Boss” star, 45, tweeted exactly one year ago Monday, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Within hours, the movement caught fire, racking up more than a million #MeToo tweets in less than a day.
Our collective pain became our collective power. #MeTooOneYearLater
Milano stopped by “GMA” to reflect on the last year.
Saying she never expected that her simple tweet would result in millions of powerful stories, Milano said, “I think we’ve come a long way … But, I think we still have a long way to go.”
Women have not only been speaking out about their experiences with assault and misconduct, they have been “standing in solidarity with each other, which I think is the most beautiful thing,” she said.
Milano said boys need to learn earlier about gender equality and respect for women.
“These lessons of acceptance and equality, we have to teach them at a much younger age,” said.
Boys often are taught this in high schoo, she said, “then to expect them to act with mutual respect in college and I think it’s too late.”
“Then people go into these jobs after college and you still have that sort of fraternity, sorority mentality,” Milano said.
Milano attended Senate confirmation hearings for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month when both he and Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, both testified.
She attended with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who first created the hashtag over a decade ago, and Milano said the testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh was intense and “ran the gamut of emotions” for her.
Milano’s early adoption of #MeToo last year came right after the first reports involving disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein came out in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Though Weinstein has always denied the numerous accusations of harassment and sexual assault levied against him, the hastag was a lightning rod for many men and women to speak up and join this inspiring community.
Lady Gaga, Anna Paquin, Terry Crews, Rose McGowan and many others embraced the hashtag and shared their stories with the world.
Since then, many powerful men and even women have fallen from grace and either lost a job or public standing after accusations surfaced. Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Mario Batali and even original Weinstein accuser Asia Argento are among the many accused of sexual misconduct or assault in the last year.
Burke, who created the #MeToo hashtag when she launched a non-profit to help victims of sexual harassment and assault, told ABC News earlier this month, “We’ve never been able to have a sustained national dialogue about sexual violence” until now.
ABC News’ Luchina Fisher contributed to this report.