On April 17, TIME magazine released the list of the 100 most influential people of 2019. Notable people that made the list are Chrissy Teigen, Taylor Swift, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh.
The magazine says “the annual list gathers the artists, leaders, scientists, activists and entrepreneurs who have changed the world over the last year – for better or worse.” TIME ultimately decides who makes the list, but they also encourage people to cast their own votes, which are taken into consideration.
While it is certainly undeniable that these people have made a significant impact on public discourse and opinion, many had mixed feelings on including an alleged abuser and the woman who accused him of abuse on the same list, and what kind of message that would send.
While many names on the list stir up bipartisan controversy, like President Donald Trump and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there are certain allegations that go beyond politics, and certain actions that should not be given the spotlight under any circumstances.
Brett Kavanaugh’s piece, which was written by Congressman Mitch McConnell, ultimately praises him for the struggles he had to endure during the trial to convict him for sexual assault. “When unhinged partisanship and special interests sought to distract the Senate from considering those qualifications, we saw other facets of Justice Kavanaugh’s character shine forth as well. The country saw his resilience and commitment to public service.”
The rhetoric in this piece sets a precedent that men can get away with allegations of horrific abuse and not only come away from the allegations with no repercussions, but that they can also be rewarded for how they acted in the midst of the allegations as well.
It is important to make sure we are analyzing politics and pop culture through an unbiased lens. TIME seeks to create an honest list that reflects the good and the bad things that have happened in the world, but there is a certain line that shouldn’t be crossed.
When we sensationalize the perpetrators as well as the victims, we give them more media coverage and more notoriety than they deserve.
Last year, TIME made the cover of their 2018 list to feature the women of the MeToo movement, but recognizing Kavanaugh in light of this, and alongside Blasey Ford, feels like several steps backward.
No matter what your political, religious or personal beliefs are, there are some actions that morally should always be considered wrong and unforgivable, and never normalized. Controversial topics definitely gain public attention and create conversation, but there are some things that aren’t worth glorifying, and there are plenty of people TIME could have chosen that deserve the spotlight more than an alleged abuser does.