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Weinstein sex accusations show the power of social media and the limits of shame in our celebrity-driven world

Note to men with unseemly, to say nothing of perverse, intentions: There are no more hiding places.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets are the town criers of our petulant, righteous age. They are where we rant, titillate, philosophize, sermonize and, in the case of the sex scandals, unmask and shame our latest objects of wrath, including Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and Bill O’Reilly. The constructs and labyrinths of secrecy that once protected these men have been shattered by emboldened victims and a social media that hurtles from zero to gale force in the time it takes to type @outrage.

To scroll Twitter is to wince at transgressions piled up like car crashes. One never knows whose name might next pop up: wheelchair-bound former President George H.W. Bush patting women’s rears, MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin saying some of his behavior was inappropriate and, in this expanding and unbecoming gallery, the flood of claims against Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby and Toback, who himself has more than 300 accusers. The numbers are shocking and sad, a defiant, primal scream by alleged victims.

What was once hidden is being revealed in a lurid pageant propelled by bursts of 140 characters and unflattering videos and pictures. Social media has taken public opinion global, connecting the planet to joys, misdeeds, revolutions, refugee crises, famines, and increasingly the sins of powerful men. The sexual assault and harassment allegations against Weinstein, Toback and O’Reilly have given us a modern-day twist on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” and the unwashable stain of the fallen.