“I think it’s about time,” said Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today at the Sundance Film Festival about the rise of the #MeToo movement. “For so long women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could about it,” the almost 25-year SCOTUS vet added of the renewed response to widespread sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations. “But now the law is on the side of women or men who encounter harassment, and that’s big thing.”
“Let’s see where it goes,” Justice Ginsburg told NPR host Nina Totenberg of a potential backlash against #MeToo and women speaking up about their experiences and seeking change. “So far it’s been great. When I see women appearing everywhere in numbers I am less worried about that.”
The appearance of the long time women’s rights advocate and organizer comes one day after the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, as well as the Respect Rally in a snow stormed Park City that commemorated last year’s March On Main and Women’s Marches all over America and the world.
A cultural icon in recent years as well as a counterweight voice to the rightward tilt of the high court, the 84-year old Associate Justice was at the Robert Redford founded festival on Sunday for the debut of the RBG documentary. Opening this afternoon in Park City with Justice Ginsburg expected to be in attendance, the up close Betsy West and Julie Cohen directed film about the Bill Clinton appointee is scheduled to play on CNN later this year.
“Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is though we didn’t have a name for it then,” the often circumspect but still direct Justice Ginsburg noted in what started as a look back at the career of the former Columbia Law School professor and ACLU top lawyer. “The attitude towards sexual harassment was ‘get past it, boys will be boys’. This was not considered anything you could do anything about, that the law could do anything about,” the Justice noted, detailing an incident that happened to her at Cornell back in the 1950s.
The hot ticket event at Main Street’s Cinema Café included CNN boss Jeff Zucker, Sundance Institute chief Keri Putnam and various board members, among others, and was introduced by a praise-filled Redford himself. “I can’t think of any greater honor than to introduce a person I so admire,” the Oscar winner told a standing ovation crowd. When the Justice later declared that her health “is very good,” there was another big round of applause. “As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here, ” she said – to more applause in what was clearly a room full of fans.
As well as discussing current events, her career history, her family and her unlikely friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Ginsburg delivered an opinion on some recent films. Admitting she doesn’t get to the movies very often, the Justice said she really liked the Golden Globe winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and Call Me By Your Name. “It’s a beautiful film,” she said of the Globes-winning coming of age tale led by Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. “I have to find out where in Italy they filmed it,” Justice Ginsburg added of the 1983 set Luca Guadagnino directed pic.
Getting a roar from the audience, Justice Ginsburg also Sunday let out a “Gins-burn,” the catchphrase of Kate McKinnon’s Saturday Night Live Ginsburg impression. Having finally seen the depiction, the Associate Justice added that she thought McKinnon was pretty good at doing her.
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival runs until January 28.