“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace,” say a group of more than 300 leading women in Hollywood. “It’s time to do something about it.” Stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Meryl Streep, and Jennifer Aniston are among those who announced with these words the launch of the Time’s Up movement to end sexual harassment. More than 300 film, TV, and theater celebrities are joining together in the wake of the MeToo movement that followed allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Harvey Weinstein. The announcement came in a letter to The New York Times
The first symbolic display of the Time’s Up campaign will come Sunday at the Golden Globes. Coalition members are encouraging others in Hollywood to wear black to the awards ceremony. “This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” actor Eva Longoria told the New York Times. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” she added. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
The coalition encourages women to raise awareness by speaking out against sexual harassment at the event. The Time’s Up coalition includes a legal defense fund, news and resources for everyone from workers on movie sets to A-list stars. In addition to confronting decades of sexual harassment, pay disparity and discrimination in Hollywood, the initiative also promises to help women in all fields who are struggling with the same problems.
“Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences,” the New York Times letter said. “We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed and to know that accountability is possible.”
Here is the Time’s Up plan of action.
Extend legal aid to survivors of sexual harassment.
Time’s Up formed a legal defense fund that currently totals $13 million in donations to help working women report sexual harassment or assault.
“Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences,” the Times’ Up letter said. “This is often because survivors, particularly those working in low-wage industries, don’t often have the resources to fight back.”
Increase gender parity.
Significantly adding to the numbers of women with decision-making authority across all industries with equal pay and opportunity would foster a better work environment. Systemic gender-inequality and imbalance of power fosters an environment that is ripe for abuse and harassment against women, the group said.
The coalition called for “greater representation of women of color, immigrant women, and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, whose experiences in the workforce are often significantly worse than their white, cisgender, straight peers.”
Enact legislation that penalizes sexual misconduct.
The initiative also is writing legislation that penalizes those who commit sexual misconduct. That includes hitting nondisclosure agreements that can be used to silence victims, the group said.