The #MeToo movement was at times a difficult, painful, and ultimately liberating moment for the thousands upon thousands of people who shared stories on social media using the hashtag. Despite how viral it went, though, it's not hard to find moments when the hashtag has been misused. Most recently, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted #MeToo — again — and Twitter has a few words to help set him straight.
Trump Jr.'s #MeToo tweet didn't come on its own. It started with Candace Owens, a conservative black media figure. On Wednesday, Owens tweeted a Daily Caller article about a Reuters poll showing a rise in Trump support among black men. In it, she referenced Kanye West's recent praise for; On April 21, he tweeted, "I love the way Candace Owens thinks."
"Black male approval for
@realDonaldTrump doubled over this past week," Owens tweeted along with the article. "They love the way Candace Owens thinks."
Trump Jr. then used this as his opening, retweeting Owens' tweet along with the #MeToo hashtag that swept the internet back in late 2017 — of course, for an entirely different reason. Trump, in this case, was using to indicate that he agreed with those who love the way that Candace Owens thinks. Many of the Twitter users responding to his post, however, remember that it was the hashtag that people use when publicly sharing their stories of experiencing sexual harassment or sexual assault.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" said another.
Trump is no stranger to these sorts of responses, though, because he actually used the #MeToo hashtag in a similar matter back in early April. Conservative media outlet the Washington Examiner posted an article about President Trump's predecessor, saying, "Obama is 'relieved' to no longer be president." Trump Jr. then retweeted that, along with the exact same #MeToo hashtag.
Again, Trump Jr. used the vehicle through which thousands of people finally felt comfortable sharing the stories that had secretly tortured them for years, even decades. And again, Trump Jr. used it merely to express that he agreed with the previous tweeter's sentiment. Trump Jr., too, is relieved that Obama is no longer the president. Trump Jr., too, likes the way that Candace Owens thinks — or he also approves of his father as president, like the black men in the Reuters poll that her Daily Caller article cited? The tweet from Wednesday was less clear as to what exactly Trump Jr. was agreeing with.
"How very inappropriate on so many levels, junior," a Twitter user posted in response to his April #MeToo tweet.
"It’s clever to use a hashtag developed to call out the behavior of men like you and your father to try and insult a man who neither of you will ever be the half of," said another (although Trump Jr. has never been accused of any untoward sexual behavior, and President Trump has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual harassment against him).
It's impossible to gauge Trump Jr.'s motives in the small character count that Twitter offers, so it's unclear whether he was purposefully misusing the #MeToo hashtag or whether he really doesn't understand what the movement as about. Either way, it's clear that his tweets angered people who thought about the #MeToo movement differently.
"You don't get to make a joke or commandeer that phrase to turn it into whatever-and if you're using it as a 'I support this woman here' show that's even more ignorant," said another person responding on Twitter. "Have respect for the women who used that phrase in sharing stories of violence against them."
Maybe responses like this will teach Trump Jr. something about the phrase that he's using — or else maybe he'll just keep using it however he wants to.