Prosecutors in western Mexico said Wednesday they have opened a criminal investigation into complaints of sexual harassment aired by the country’s exploding #MeToo movement.
The prosecutors’ office in Michoacan state said that some of the complaints published on social media constituted possible crimes that occurred in the state and therefore fall under its jurisdiction.
Mexico had a somewhat tepid response to the original #MeToo movement that sprang up in 2017. Only a few Mexican actresses said they had been harassed, despite reports that such abuses were widespread.
But over the last few days, the United Mexican Journalists group says it has gathered over 120 allegations of sexual harassment across the country’s biggest media outlets.
About seven of the alleged assailants appear to be from Michoacan; some were accused by more than one woman.
Michoacan reporter Patricia Monreal said prosecutors’ decision to investigate the complaints was a positive if overdue step.
“The majority of these cases were well known” in media circles, Monreal said, but victims were afraid to speak out.
The United Journalists group said that since it issued its report on the 120 complaints on Saturday, two publications have suspended or fired two employees named as alleged harassers, and other media outlets have pledged to review practices to prevent harassment in the workplace.
“We don’t want to continue working with editors who will only publish our stories if we go out with them,” the groups said in a statement. “We don’t want any more sources granting us interviews in their hotel rooms. We don’t want to have to protect ourselves against a harasser who sits next to us in the newsroom.”
Since Saturday, similar campaigns have sprung up on social media for Mexican writers, academics and activists to share their stories.
The academics’ social media feeds were crowded with stories about college professors harassing co-workers and students. Writers made similar complaints.