Powerful women in Hollywood are taking a major stand against sexual harassment and misconduct in the industry. More than 300 women, including Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes, have launched an anti-harassment initiative called Time's Up Now. The initiative was announced via an open letter that was published as a full-page ad in The New York Times and in La Opinion. Here's what Time's Up Now is and what it's aiming to do.
"Time's Up is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live. Powered by women, Time's Up addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential. We partner with leading advocates for equality and safety to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies; help change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable. No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse."
The 300 women who have made themselves part of this groundbreaking initiative include actresses, female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives. Time's Up Now includes a $13 million legal defense fund, which was put together through donations, that is intended to help less privileged women from harassment and what may result if they report it. It also includes legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and a request that women who walk the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and to wear black, in order to raise awareness. Here's how the open letter reads that announced the Time's Up Now initiative.
"To every woman. employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile, every garment and factory worker forced to trade sexual acts for more shifts, every domestic worker or home health aide forcibly touched by a client, every immigrant woman silenced by the threat of her undocumented status being reported in retaliation for speaking up and to women in every industry who are subjected to indignities and offensive behavior that they are expected to tolerate to make a living: We stand with you. We support you. We remain committed to holding our own workplaces accountable, pushing for swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone, and telling women's stories through our eyes and voices with the goal of shifting our society's perception and treatment of women."
This initiative comes in the wake of the wave of sexual harassment and misconduct accusations that have been made against many powerful figures in Hollywood, which was kickstarted by the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Other prominent figures who are part of the initiative include Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Kerry Washington. Several members of Time's Up Now, including Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes, took to Twitter to raise awareness. To learn more, or to donate, you can head over to TimesUpNow.com. You can check out the full open letter for yourself below.