Hollywood took a hit in 2017 when several of its most powerful figures were accused and found guilty of sexual misconduct. The revelations paved a path for many women in the entertainment industry to find the courage to come forth with their personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault. However, for many women, the journey of healing and being open about their stories is not as simple. Not every woman has the privileges and positive circumstances to be able to reveal her experience(s) and have them perceived in a way that is healthy and helpful for her healing and growth. These Hollywood A-Listers were able to recognize their privileges and launched an initiative to help less fortunate women from all workforces share their experiences.
On January 1, over 300 women in the entertainment industry launched the empowering initiative by the name of Time’s Up. It began with four CAA agents; Maha Dakhil, Michelle Kydd Lee, Hylda Queally and Christy Haubegger, and has expanded to spread its message and mission to women from all over the entertainment industry.
The initiative consists of a legal defense fund, pushing for legislation to strengthen its implementation and enforcement of laws regarding workplace harassment, and backing for “50/50 by 2020” for equality in Hollywood.
A legal defense fund for the initiative, Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, has $13 million in funding from more than 200 donors. The defense league consists of powerful women such as Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen. Kaplan argued before the Supreme Court for the legalization of same-sex marriages in United States v. Windsor which helped led to the nationwide legalization, while Tchen was assistant to former president Barack Obama, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. The fund will be administered by the National Women’s Law Center.
Of the movement and its importance, Tina Tchen says,
“The magnitude of the past few months highlights the fact that sexual harassment against women in the workplace is endemic and touches every industry. We are a community of women and men who can no longer stand idly by.”
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization of over 700, 000 female farmworkers wrote a letter to Hollywood women in solidarity with their coming out with stories of sexual harassment and assault. In response, Time’s Up posted its own letter to these women and others who have been victim to sexual misconduct.
Time’s Up is also the movement behind the plan for women to wear black to the Golden Globe Awards, to spark more public awareness of the issue of sexual misconduct and create solidarity with victims.
With no specific leader, the initiative consists of various people helping out in specific areas. Amongst the big names supporting the movement are Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Stacey Snider, Dana Walden, Regina King, Felicity Huffman, Megan Ellison, Kate Hudson, Viola Davis, Ava DuVernay, Alicia Vikander, Amy Poehler, Olivia Munn, Taylor Swift, Jessica Chastain, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, according to Variety.
Shonda Rhimes says in support of Time’s Up,
“Earning a living should not come at the cost of anyone’s safety, dignity or morale. It’s well past time to change the culture of the environment where most of us spend the majority of our day ― the work place.”
Many groups and well-known figures have already donated generously to the initiative, with WME, ICM, and UTA each donating $1 million, Steven Spielberg and the Wunderkinder Foundation has donated $2 million each, and many more. Time’s Up has a GoFundMe page set up for others willing to donate and help them reach their $15 million goal.
The website, timesupnow.com, gives further information.
As many aspects of the world, including and especially the social and political aspects of it, have come to a more enlightened understanding of the issues surrounding sexual misconduct as of late, movements like Time’s Up are an essential force to the growth and change needed to combat sexual misconduct and inequality. It is important that those with more privilege are able to create solidarity with and help those of lesser privilege and work towards a more just world for all. Your circumstances, privileges (and lack thereof) and jobs should not dictate the way your experiences with sexual misconduct are handled; justice belongs to every person in all workforces.