A 10-digit phone number was the root of a new podcast from actress Dakota Johnson. “The Left Ear” series was created from voicemails left for her after she gave out her phone number at the Global Citizen Festival and encouraged survivors of sexual assault to share their stories.
“One year ago I asked women and girls around the world to call me and leave a voicemail telling their stories of sexual violence, harassment and gender-based inequalities. I didn’t want to speak on their behalf, I wanted to listen to them,” she explained in an Instagram message. “This is ‘The Left Ear,’ a podcast where you will find the voicemails I listened to. To protect anonymity the voices have been slightly pitched, and any identifiers have been removed. Other than that, they have not been edited. These are real stories from real people around the world.”
“The Left Ear”—on which Johnson worked with Spoke Media—will have no shortage of content. Within an hour of publicizing her telephone number in October 2018, Fanning’s voicemail box was flooded with thousands of stories of abuse, assault and trauma recounted firsthand by those who experienced it and survived. New shows will be published each Monday. And while the first season has just launched, the producers say they’re already at work on season two, which is set for release in 2020.
“In this podcast, I want to create a space where the listener is listening just as honestly and bravely as the speakers who had the courage to call,” said Johnson, who added the stories are “very intense” and may prove difficult for some people. Explaining the show’s ‘Left Ear’ name, she said, “Your left ear is the ear closest to your heart. And by listening with your heart, you can save someone even just a little bit.”