The initiative, supported by stars such as Natalie Portman and Emma Stone, includes $13m legal defense fund for women in less privileged professions
Three hundred female Hollywood actors, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives including Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Reese Witherspoon are kicking off the new year with a coordinated effort to counter systemic sexual harassment in the entertainment business and US workplaces.
The initiative, announced with a full-page ad in the New York Times, includes a $13m legal defense fund to help women in less privileged professions protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the consequences that may arise from reporting it.
Entitled Times Up, the programme was launched with an open letter signed by hundreds of women in show business, including Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Rashida Jones and Kerry Washington, as well as powerful backroom Hollywood figures, including producer Shonda Rhimes, whose credits include Greys Anatomy and Scandal.
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; times up on this impenetrable monopoly, part of the letter reads.
If this group of women cant fight for a model for other women who dont have as much power and privilege, then who can? Rhimes told the New York Times.
In a sense, Times Up is being launched as a companion to the #MeToo movement that grew out of the spontaneous response to revelations about Hollywoods casting-couch system of sexual predation and enduring gender-pay disparities.
While attention has largely focused on show business and the media, Times Up seeks to include the plight of working-class women.
The organization arose from informal gatherings of female talent agents in Los Angeles who starting meeting after the issue of sexual harassment landed like a bombshell on the entertainment industry in October. The group rapidly expanded and now includes meetings and workshops for participants in New York and London.
Organizers said they were moved to broaden the effort after receiving an open letter on behalf of 700,000 female farmworkers in November.
The initiatives goals also include promoting legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to fight against the use of non-disclosure agreements to shield sexual abusers.
Organizers also plan to ask women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes this year to wear black. This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment, actor Eva Longoria, who rose to fame in Desperate Housewives, told the paper.
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