Mira Sorvino urges #MeToo to do more than ‘name and shame’

The Oscar-winning actress was one of the first to come forward with allegations of abuse against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 13 November 2018
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Mira Sorvino urges #MeToo to do more than ‘name and shame’

NEW YORK: Mira Sorvino believes the key to eradicating sexual misconduct lies more in preventative education than in “naming and shaming” perpetrators.
The Oscar-winning actress was one of the first to come forward with allegations of abuse against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and her resilience has not wavered.
She wants to work with students — from younger grades to the end of high school — to make them understand consent and their physical rights.
“So we don’t raise boys — because it’s mostly boys who do this, some girls, but mostly boys — who turn into men who commit these heinous crimes,” Sorvino told The Associated Press during a recent interview while promoting her role on the new season of the Sony Crackle series, “StartUp.”
Sorvino agrees that the culture has changed over the past year, but feels there’s a long way to go, especially when bad behavior is validated in entertainment.
“That was sort of taught to us by like ‘80s movies culture like ‘Sixteen Candles’ or ‘Porky’s’ or ‘Animal House’ which made it OK to commit date rape and it was the women’s fault because she was drunk rather than, ‘That’s date rape.’ How could you possibly take advantage of somebody who can’t even speak?’” she said.
She added: “’That’s not cool. That’s not fun.’ But that’s what my generation of guys were brought up on. I mean I was brought up watching those movies, so we’ve got to change the culture. It can’t just be punishment and naming and shaming, it’s got to be prevention because that’s what we really want. We want no one victimized,” Sorvino said.
Sorvino has found some solace as a prominent voice in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Advancements by these organizations have become a rallying cry for women victimized over the years by varying degrees of sexual misconduct. On Dec. 1, she will join the Mika Brzezinski-led line-up for the “Know Your Value” event in San Francisco, which is designed to support and empower women.
She’s kept acting, too. In “StartUp,” Sorvino plays a quirky NSA agent with a deadly side that tries to take down a dark-web site to find a terror cell. The series raises questions about online privacy and the government. It’s currently streaming on Sony Crackle.
She also has helped lobby for legislation in California that provides protections and opportunities for women and girls. Three of the bills presented under the proposed #TakeTheLead legislation have been enacted into law after being singed by California Gov. Jerry Brown.
And she has bigger plans in mind, namely a change to the US Constitution guaranteeing equal rights for women.
“This year coming up I really want to see the Equal Rights Amendment passed. It’s nuts that we don’t have explicit equality in the constitution,” Sorvino said.


Influencer invasion as Pakistan launches tourism push

Updated 52 min 28 sec ago
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Influencer invasion as Pakistan launches tourism push

  • Cricketer-turned-prime-minister Imran Khan is keen to promote the nation’s tourism potential
  • The push has resulted in an influx of foreign travel bloggers extolling the virtues of its mountains and beaches

ISLAMABAD: They are young, Western, and full of praise for Pakistan: Travel influencers have moved in on the “land of the pure,” but critics warn their rose-tinted filters are irresponsible and sell an inaccurate picture of the conservative, militancy-scarred country.
As security improves, cricketer-turned-prime-minister Imran Khan is keen to promote the nation’s tourism potential, with the government claiming it has eased visa restrictions for many foreign visitors.
The push has resulted in an influx of foreign travel bloggers extolling the virtues of its mountains and beaches, as well as its rich heritage and history, from ancient Indus civilizations to Buddhist shrines and Islamic monuments.
“Pakistan, it was the trip of a lifetime,” food and travel YouTuber Mark Wiens told his four million subscribers.
Polish blogger Eva zu Beck informed her followers it could “become the number one tourist destination in the world,” while Canadian social media influencer Rosie Gabrielle said she wanted her stories to “tell the truth” about the country.
But there are concerns influencer content does not reflect the major challenges, from infrastructure to extremism, that Pakistan is facing as it embraces modern tourism.
Zu Beck, whose clip was even shared by officials, cites government commerce initiative Emerging Pakistan, as well as Pakistan International Airlines as partners she’s worked with, while Wiens credits tourism expo Pakistan Travel Mart for “making the amazing trip happen.”
Gabrielle says her 3,500-kilometer motorcycle trip across the nation was facilitated by a Pakistani association in Oman.
Once seen as an essential stop on the hippie trail, visitor numbers have slumped since the 1970s when the country first underwent sweeping Islamization then descended into a bloody battle with militancy.
Deadly attacks still occur but security concerns are easing, so authorities and businesses are keen to shake the perception it is a hostile and dangerous place.
They are enthusiastic that so-called social media “influencer” advertising, which generally provides glossy snapshots rather than in-depth investigation, can present an alternative vision of Pakistan to a new generation of young and adventurous travelers.
“People believe them,” says Pakistan Travel Mart CEO Ali Hamdani, who helped set up Wiens trip, adding that bloggers’ impressions are regarded as “authentic.”
Yet Pakistanis and seasoned foreign travelers warn such posts on social media do not paint a full and honest picture of Pakistan.
Tourism infrastructure is severely underdeveloped, there are opaque government restrictions on places foreigners can visit, and travelers are often harassed — whether by men bothering women in a patriarchal society; or suspicious intelligence officials detaining curious sight-seers or insisting on security escorts.
“All this ‘Everything is wonderful in Pakistan’ is just irresponsible,” reveals June, an indignant 51-year-old Briton who declined to give her last name, she had been harassed by a police officer during a visit to the northwestern Swat valley.
Influencers are shielded from many issues that ordinary visitors face, adds Zara Zaman, an attendee at a recent tourism summit in Islamabad.
“All of these travelers are also traveling with crews and are protected by more powerful people,” she argues.
Hamdani, for example, acted as a driver for both Wiens and another influencer, Trevor James, during their visits, smoothing out any issues.
Zu Beck and Gabrielle, were able to visit the southwestern province of Balochistan — famed for its spectacular scenery, but also for violent insurgencies, which means few foreigners are able to visit without the blessing of intelligence agencies.
What influencers publish “doesn’t represent the real experience,” warns Alexandra Reynolds, an American blogger on her fifth trip to Pakistan, adding that there is a risk that less experienced travelers will be misled by such content and potentially end up in trouble.
“In a time when Pakistan’s international reputation is so fragile, it is not something that should be risked,” the 27-year-old explains, revealing that she too experienced harassment from security forces during a previous trip.
Another tourist Sebastiaan, 30, says he was detained for 14 hours and questioned by suspicious government agents in the southern city of Mithi last September.
There is also frustration from Pakistanis that Western bloggers have been feted by authorities, while locals with better cultural understanding — especially of sensitive issues such as gender or blasphemy — are sidelined.
“It kinds of makes me angry to have white people represent us. We are not completely done with our post-colonial hangover,” says Zaman.
At the tourism summit a group of the Western bloggers were widely photographed meeting Imran Khan, with no local travel influencers in sight, prompting a backlash on social media.
Despite concerns, the bloggers remain enthusiastic.
Zu Beck, 27, has gained a huge following in Pakistan, where a local phone company has sponsored some of her videos.
She insists: “My job is not to love Pakistan. My job is to make content. But I love Pakistan.”