Many of Hollywood’s most influential women have declared that time’s up for the serial abusers in their industry (and elsewhere), announcing an ambitious new anti-harassment initiative, per The New York Times.
The movement, known as Time’s Up, takes a multi-pronged approach to harassment in the workplace, whether it’s in entertainment or agriculture. It’s backed by dozens of prominent actresses, including Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera, and Ashley Judd—all of whom shared their stories of being harassed or assaulted in the wake of the revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s long history of predation—as well as powerhouse producers like Shonda Rhimes and Jill Soloway. According to the Times, Time’s Up “ is leaderless, run by volunteers and made up of working groups,” but, in addition to the above, counts among its members Kerry Washington, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Universal Pictures chairwoman Donna Langley, former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, Tina Tchen, and attorney Nina L. Shaw.
Time’s Up was created in October in response to ongoing reports about alleged harassers like Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and James Toback, among so many others. As more and more women stepped forward, “a group of female talent agents met at Creative Artists to discuss the problem and explore solutions,” the Times reports. Membership now stands at roughly 300 female agents, writers, directors, producers, and entertainment executives, as well as many actresses. They now meet weekly at CAA, as well as in their own homes, often for daylong workshops.
The objectives are clear, and include establishing the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which has already received significant donations from the likes of Witherspoon, Rhimes, Kate Capshaw, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Katie McGrath, and J.J. Abrams. The National Women’s Law Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity administers the fund, and connects women victims of sexual harassment with lawyers.
Time’s Up has two other goals that reach even further, including a push for gender parity in studios and talent agencies, as well as legislation that would discourage the use of non-disclosure agreements and would also penalize companies that “tolerate persistent harassment.” Then there’s the more short-term objective of getting actresses to wear black on the 2018 Golden Globes red carpet to raise awareness.
The movement’s formation was announced in an open letter published Monday, which declares “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.” Although Time’s Up has made helping less privileged women in industries outside of Hollywood one of its mandates, Rhimes said “it’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house.” As the Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator told the 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 Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund has already raised over $13 million; to sign the letter of intent and make a contribution, visit the GoFundMe page.