Bill Cosby and #TheEmptyChair

CK4ffs2UAAAFZ-1On Sunday evening, New York magazine released a devastating story featuring the first-hand accounts from 35 women Bill Cosby has allegedly assaulted. Yet perhaps the most unsetting aspect of the story was not its words, but its cover: the women sitting side-by-side, in stark black and white, feet flat on the ground—and at the end of the line, one empty chair.

As New York‘s social media team wrote Wednesday,

That chair signifies the 11 other women who have accused Cosby of assault, but weren’t photographed for the magazine. But it also represents the countless other women who have been sexually assaulted, but have been unable or unwilling to come forward.

Even the team had no idea how powerful that image would become. Within hours, social media exploded over what was termed #TheEmptyChair, launching a cultural conversation over the pervasive nature of sexual assault and sexual harassment in modern culture. Some on Twitter shared societal criticism, others personal experiences. The Ms. Blog has compiled some of the most staggering tweets from that conversation.

Photo courtesy of New York Magazine.



Carter Sherman is a former Ms. editorial intern. She recently graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and international studies, and has previously interned at Elle and Los Angeles Magazine. Follow her on Instagram at @heyyymizcarter.