After her Aug. 4 interview with The Sunday Times was published, Lindsay Lohan faced a wave of backlash for her comments about the #MeToo movement, which went viral shortly after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused by multiple women of sexual assault last October. Now, Lohan has apologized for her comments in an exclusive statement to People while also seeking to clarify what she said.
When she was interviewed by the Times, Lohan reportedly commented, "If it happens at that moment, you discuss it at that moment. You make it a real thing by making it a police report. I’m going to really hate myself for saying this, but I think by women speaking against all these things, it makes them look weak when they are very strong women. You have these girls who come out, who don’t even know who they are, who do it for the attention. That is taking away from the fact that it happened.”
She also told the outlet that despite having been in Hollywood since she was just 12 years old, Lohan has never had a #MeToo moment of her own. “So, I don’t really have anything to say. I can’t speak on something I didn’t live, right?" she said. "Look, I am very supportive of women. Everyone goes through their own experiences in their own ways.” She then added that she can't support "attention-seekers" and that she doesn't agree with "trial by social media."
Now, in her statement to People, Lohan said, “I would like to unreservedly apologize for any hurt and distress caused by a quote in a recent interview with The Times,” adding, “the quote solely related to my hope that a handful of false testimonies out of a tsunami of heroic voices do not serve to dilute the importance of the #MeToo movement, and all of us who champion it. However, I have since learned how statements like mine are seen as hurtful, which was never my intent. I’m sorry for any pain I may have caused.”
Lohan went on to voice her support for the #MeToo movement and the women who have come forward with their stories. “I feel very strongly about the #MeToo movement and have the utmost respect and admiration for the women brave enough to come forward and speak out about their experiences," she told People. "Their testimony has served to protect those who can’t speak, and give strength to those who have struggled to have their voices heard.”
Lohan is not the first to bring up "false testimonies" over purported concern about the effects of the #MeToo movement. Lena Dunham faced backlash last November when she supported a Girls writer who was accused of rape; she then walked back her statement of support. In a similarly problematic vein, Kathie Lee Gifford drew attention in March when she revealed during an interview on Andy Cohen's SiriusXM show that she had reached out to both Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein to offer them support as their respective issues with alleged sexual assault and rape emerged in the press.
Fortune reports that, per a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in April, 31 percent of the 6,251 adults surveyed thought that women making false claims of sexual harassment or assault was a "major problem in the workplace." Meanwhile, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. One of every 6 American women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, but 994 out of every 1,000 perpetrators of sexual violence who goes through the criminal justice system will walk free.
It's good that Lohan took the time to rethink what she said and to apologize for any hurt she may have caused, especially because pointing to "false accusations" as a reason for scaling back a movement like #MeToo — which is long overdue — ultimately damages the cause. Rape culture conditions people to believe that victims are lying or are somehow responsible for their own assaults, and none of us are immune to that conditioning.