Hundreds of powerful female Hollywood executives, directors, producers, actresses, and agents, have launched the “Time’s Up” initiative to stamp out sexual harassment in Hollywood and workplaces across the country.
The campaign has the backing of ABC super-producer Shonda Rhimes, A-list actresses Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, and Emma Stone, influential showrunner Jill Soloway, chairwoman of Universal Pictures Donna Langley, and Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama.
“It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house,” said Rhimes, according to the New York Times. “If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?”
The initiative boasts a 13 million dollar legal defense fund to assist blue-collar workers like janitors, nurses, service employees, and factory employees to fight against sexual misconduct and report it. The group is pushing for legislation aimed at punishing companies that tolerate harassment. The campaign, the Times reports, is also urging women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes to wear black in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct.
Time’s Up published a letter signed by several Hollywood stars, which ran as a full-page ad on Monday in the New York Times and in the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion.
“We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible,” the letter says. “The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly.”
Last year saw a flood of Hollywood heavyweights, including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, and Russell Simons, come under intense fire for years of alleged sexual misconduct. An outpouring of harassment victim accounts spawned the #MeToo movement, which made waves around the world as women spoke out in protest against sexual harassment in Hollywood and in the media. The allegations also led to the resignations of major political figures, including Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).