Tracey Spicer’s embattled #MeToo organisation collapses

 

NOW Australia, the #MeToo organisation founded by journalist and outspoken feminist Tracey Spicer, has shut down operations less than two and a half years after it launched.

The not-for-profit promised to be the spearhead in launching a #MeToo movement in Australia similar to the one in the US, which brought down high profile men including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.

Tracey Spicer has distanced herself from the not-for-profit. Picture: Rohan Thomson
Tracey Spicer has distanced herself from the not-for-profit. Picture: Rohan Thomson

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NOW Australia was sharply criticised for its inability to adequately support survivors of sexual violence, and the lack of response many men and women received after disclosing their assaults.

Spicer retreated from her position at NOW Australia in June 2018 after suffering from vicarious trauma from receiving thousands of stories of assault and harassment, has not been involved in the organisation since.

In a statement on Monday NOW Australia cited the "funding landscape" due to COVID-19 as the reason for the collapse.

"We now find ourselves facing unprecedented times. The national funding landscape has changed dramatically," the statement said.

 

Redacted screengrabs from Tracey Spicer's documentary
Redacted screengrabs from Tracey Spicer's documentary "Silent No More" which mistakenly revealed the names and details of rape victims.

 

"COVID-19 continues to impact individuals, families and businesses across the country.

"This has created an extremely precarious landscape and as a result, we have chosen to adopt a conservative approach.

"We have taken the difficult, but fiscally responsible decision to close down. The remaining funds are being shared on to YWCA and sent to Justice Connect to support their important work with the Gateway Project."

In October of 2017 Spicer called out for survivors of sexual assault and harassment to share their stories with her, with the aim to get those survivors support and to expose mistreatment in the workplace.

The remaining funds from NOW Australia will be split among other organisations.
The remaining funds from NOW Australia will be split among other organisations.

NOW Australia was forced to apologise to many survivors whose disclosures were left unanswered, and was criticised heavily by a Buzzfeed investigation which characterised Spicer and NOW Australia as failing to keep their promises.

Spicer was also lambasted over her involvement in the accidental leaking of the names of some assault victims in an early version of the Silent No More documentary produced with the ABC.

The series documented stories of #MeToo in Australia and was released in November last year. Earlier in 2019 she won the Sydney Peace Prize for her work on the #MeToo movement.

Founder of the End Rape on Campus organisation Sharna Bremner said she was disappointed that NOW Australia shut down, but was not impressed by their work.

"I'm pretty disappointed because it could have been something good had it been done properly, it was something a lot of people put a lot of hope a lot of money into," Ms Bremner said.

"It was harmful for people who were completely ignored … some of those people will not speak up and seek support ever again," she said.

A spokesperson for Tracey Spicer said: "NOW Australia has been run by an independent board since mid-2018. While I was one of 26 women who founded the organisation, I stepped away more than 18 months ago. I have never been a member of that board."

Originally published as Tracey Spicer's embattled #MeToo organisation collapses



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