Why Alyssa Milano Was At The Brett Kavanaugh Hearings

Alyssa Milano is a survivor of sexual assault and wanted to stand in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who she believes is also a survivor of sexual assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

"I felt like I needed to be here to show my solidarity for Dr. Ford on this day that will be very difficult for her," the actress told ABC News. Milano recalled watching Anita Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment before his own confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court in 1991. "I remember thinking what a strong, amazing, solid woman she was to come forward. What a service she was doing for all women ... we are in a different time. Women are standing together now in solidarity."

Milano was on hand at the hearing and photographed at times right behind Judge Kavanaugh. This is why her presence made such a splash during the proceedings — and why it was so important to the Insatiable star to be there for Ford.

She lent her voice to the #WhyIDidntReport chorus

Alyssa Milano revealed in a essay for Vox that it took her years to tell her closest friends about her assault, channeling the #WhyIDidntReport movement of sexual assault survivors.

"It took me three decades to tell my parents that the assault had even happened. I never filed a police report. I never told officials. I never tried to find justice for my pain because justice was never an option," she wrote. "For me, speaking up meant reliving one of the worst moments of my life. It meant recognizing my attacker's existence when I wanted nothing more than to forget that he was allowed to walk on this Earth at all. This is what every survivor goes through ... Telling our stories means being vulnerable to public attacks and ridicule when our only 'crime' was to be assaulted in the first place."

Milano also tweeted her fury at President Donald Trump for questioning why Dr. Ford didn't disclose her own sexual assault to police when it occurred.

She popularized the #MeToo movement

Activist Tarana Burke created the #MeToo movement in 2006, and it became a movement among women of color in the MySpace era before hashtags were even a thing. Alyssa Milano, however, is credited with helping the movement pick up steam after the sexual harassment and assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein emerged in October 2017. 

She tweeted a screencap that read: "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'me too' as a status, we might give the world a sense of the magnitude of the problem." She captioned the image, "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet."

Milano was shocked when she woke up to more than 55,000 replies and "#MeToo" as the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter, in addition to more than 85 million Facebook posts containing the phrase. "It was the perfect storm to happen and I feel really blessed I was the vessel, the messenger," the actress told The Guardian. "It's very special, probably the greatest thing I've felt. I think the fact that it turned into a true movement was surprising. That was never my intention."

She's friendly with members of Congress

Alyssa Milano's activism caught the attention of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who reportedly invited the actress as her guest to the Judge Kavanaugh hearings. Milano told The Hollywood Reporter that she'd been in touch with Feinstein for about 18 months — before the hearings were even a twinkle in Congress' eye. The actress was seated next to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the latter of whom she joined for a hearing on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in June 2018.

"Fatima Goss Graves [president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center] and Tarana Burke were [seated] behind me," Milano said. "We all needed to be there to support Dr. Ford and it was definitely a feeling of hope."

She wants to speak with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Despite Alyssa Milano's attendance at the hearing and outspoken support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the actress told The Hollywood Reporter on Sept. 28, 2018 that she had yet to speak with Ford. 

"I had a wonderful moment yesterday with one of her friends who came over to me and said, 'She wanted to say hi to you, she's just overwhelmed. But she really appreciates you being here,'" Milano said. "I am hoping to speak with her in the future and I've extended all of my contact information to her through her attorney."

She's conscious of the upcoming election cycle

Part of why Alyssa Milano is so vocal is because she wants Democrats to take back Congress in the 2018 midterm elections in November. Her visibility at the Kavanaugh hearing was, in part, a tool to create a Blue Wave at the polls and to get more women engaged with the electoral process.

"Everyone needs to go volunteer for a candidate that they believe in, that is going to protect the rights of women and that is going to fight for women," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "That's the only way that we're really going to change things. I always felt like we were going to take back the House, but now I feel like we're going to take back the Senate ... I will lobby as hard as I possibly can to get the Democrats in the House to put forward the policy for impeaching Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court."

She updated her social media accounts from the hearing

Alyssa Milano was actively updating her social media accounts at the hearing, but contrary to reports, she insists her phone wasn't confiscated during the proceedings — but she was subjected to two minor slaps on the wrist. One was for a sign that she had on her clipboard that read, "I BELIEVE SURVIVORS. VOTE NO ON KAVANAUGH." The other was for recording videos of the hearing with her phone.

"I completely forgot that sign was even on my clipboard. I had protested the day before and when I took my clipboard ... the cop came over to me and said, 'You're going to have to put that away.' Then I looked at the back and apologized," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "There were reports that my phone was confiscated, which is false. I got a warning about taking video, but my phone was never taken away from [me] — which is clear by the amount of times I tweeted!"

She wanted to see what cameras didn't catch

Milano told The Hollywood Reporter that TV cameras at the hearing didn't capture everything that was going on, so she wanted to be sure she was there to witness everything that happened.

"Throughout [Dr. Ford's] testimony, what you could not see as someone watching at home were the senators on the Republican side being disengaged, looking at their cell phones ... It made them look like they didn't care. It gave them the opportunity to disengage, not be present and not have to look her in the eye or feel any sort of sympathy," she said.

Milano observed Judge Kavanaugh's actions too, from her vantage point behind the Supreme Court nominee. "I was seeing under the table that his knee was bobbing up and down. I could see him breathing heavy," she said.

She's rather be an activist than an actress

Milano currently stars on Netflix's poorly reviewed Insatiable after years of flying under the Hollywood radar post-Charmed. She admitted to People that she wouldn't mind hanging up her acting career altogether to focus exclusively on activism, especially when it comes to raising her son and daughter to be productive citizens. "I just really believe that if my integrity stays in tact and I stay true to who I am and what I believe in ... if it means I'm not going to work in this industry, I'm not going to work in this industry," she said. "But at least I can go to bed knowing that I fought the good fight."

Milano added that she's been an activist since she was 15 years old, so if she quit raising awareness and funds for causes she believes in, it would be "disingenuous." She said of her children, "We are in such a time right now that there's so much chaos and turmoil, and it's really hard to shelter them from that, so we have very deep conversations about what's happening."