Seth Meyers didn't waste any time setting a tone for the 75th Golden Globes, starting one of the most anticipated awards show monologues ever with, "Good evening ladies and remaining gentleman."
The joke, of course, alluded to the #MeToo movement that's rocked Hollywood since the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October on 2017 and has had lasting reverberations since. "This is the first time in three months it won't be terrifying [for a man] to hear your name out loud," Meyers said in a bit, written with help from Amy Poehler, that had her mocking him for man-splaining. With his monologue, Meyers removed any questions about how the usually festive, borderline bawdy affair would address the deadly serious allegations (and acknowledgements) of sexual harassment that's toppled industry titans including Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey and Matt Lauer, to name a few. From black attire to Time's Up pins and Oprah's rousing speech, the Golden Globes put sexual harassment and women's issues front and center.
The millions of people watching knew the game had changed at the start of the red carpet, which shifted focus from gowns and jewels to the Time's Up project which Hollywood heavyweights including Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon pioneered to help offset legal fees for women in all industries battled sexual harrasment. With A-listers making the unprecedented move to feature non-celebs like Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement and Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, they made a forceful statement of their intention to change the world, with the entertainment industry leading the way. Barbra Streisand said she was proud to be among people who've "vowed to change the way we do business."
Like some celebs, Meyers pointed out that the movement wasn't just about the rich and famous but all workers, who deserve pay equity and places of employment safe from harassment and discrimination. "Most of the jobs on film sets aren't American dream jobs," he said, referring to the scores of people, like hairstylists, set designers, and production assistants, who might face harassment but fear speaking up. "People in this room had to work hard to get here," he said, "but it's clear now the women had to work harder."
The night also featured forceful speeches from Witherspoon and Laura Dern, Best Supporting Actress winner for Big Little Lies "Many of us were taught not to tattle," said Dern. "It was a culture of silencing, and that was normalized. I urge all of us to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth, but to promote restorative justice. May we also please protect and employ them. May we teach our children that speaking out without fear of retribution is our culture's new north star."
Some of the best acknowledgments of the new culture came unexpectedly, with subtle, quick jabs that were like a million tiny papercuts to egos of men. Debra Messing had the first and most shocking, when she called out a possible pay disparity between male and female hosts at E! on the red carpet...while talking to E!, letting it be known she was not at the Globes to play games. Natalie Portman had another, when she detoured from script with a barb that set off audible "Ooohs" in the room.
But if anyone really hammered home the point, it was Oprah, who got the crowd on its feet with her speech that seemed to shake the walls with its intensity. Invoking Recy Taylor, a black woman who risked her life to speak about her rape by six white men in 1944 Alabama, Oprah turned the refrain of the evening into what felt like a gospel hymn. "Their time is up!," she boomed, referring to men who've abused women without consequence across all industries for ages. "I want all the girls watching to know a new day is on the horizon," she said. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure they are the leaders to take us to the time where nobody has to say 'me too' again."