Late Sunday evening, New York magazine commanded what seemed like the entire Internet's attention with the collected stories and portraits of 35 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. As New York's Noreen Malone and Amanda Demme put it, the women are “an unwelcome sisterhood.” For the magazine's cover, each of the women was photographed seated in a chair and gazing into the camera; the last chair sits empty, symbolizing all the women who can’t come forward with their stories.
As of early Monday morning, the magazine’s website had undergone a distributed denial of service attack; the site is still down as of this writing, but an archived version is available here. It's unclear what the hacker's motivation is, but the coincidental timing couldn't be more appallingly apt, given the culture of silence and shame that journalism like Malone and Demme's is trying to change. To combat the still mysterious censor of New York and to offer support to all survivors of sexual assault, Twitter users began using the hashtag #TheEmptyChair. Below is just a sampling of the countless messages so far. To see more, click here.
It's a problem when the survivors of sexual assault are treated like criminals/liars & the perpetrators like victims. #TheEmptyChair— Dominic Mitchell (@dominiclm_) July 27, 2015
#TheEmptyChair isn't big enough to fit all the people who have been raped, unheard and shamed.— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) July 27, 2015
I stand with every women or girl sitting in #TheEmptyChair right now. Your resilience is beyond measure.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) July 27, 2015
Men and Young Men: I hope you are joining me in listening to and learning from the lived experiences being shared on #TheEmptyChair— jeff perera (@jeffperera) July 27, 2015
To anyone in #TheEmptyChair - you are more than what happened to you. You are loved. You are believed. You are heard.— Kate Stickel (@KateStickel) July 27, 2015
What's fucking with me most is how many women, hell, how many women I KNOW that sit in #TheEmptyChair because of how we treat rape victims.— Elon James White (@elonjames) July 27, 2015