Powerful women in Hollywood come together to release multi-faceted anti-harassment plan
Over 300 of the most powerful women in Hollywood have released a plan called Time’s Up that will hopefully help resolve a longstanding issue in the American workplace. Included in this initiative is a thirteen million dollar legal defense fund set up to help workers in less privileged occupations such as janitors, nurses, and workers on farms, at restaurants, and hotels; and proposed legislation penalizing companies that tolerate persistent harassment or use nondisclosure agreements to keep victims quiet.
It also includes a call for gender parity at studios and talent agencies and a request that women walking the red carpet wear black.
Announcing this initiative was a full-page ad that ran in the New York Times and in La Opinion, a Spanish language newspaper that depicted the open letter the women signed. This open letter was sent to those who stood up and came forward with their stories of sexual harassment written on behalf of 700.000 farm workers. The letter called on the powerful in Hollywood to stand with and for these farm workers just as others had stood with those in Hollywood when they came forward with their stories.
Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, closely identified with the initiative, stating:
It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house… 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?
Time’s Up is a leaderless, or non-hierarchal organization which works in groups, one of which ensured the creation of a commission lead by Anita Hill which is supposed to create a blueprint for ending sexual harassment in show business. Another group is pushing entertainment organizations and companies to reach gender parity within two years. Another group is working on ensuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and people of color are heard. Yet another group is working on legislation to tackle abuses and to address the silencing of victims through non-disclosure agreements.
Reese Witherspoon also closely identified with the organization, summing up the movement in these words:
We have been siloed off from each other…We’re finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn’t feel seen, to be finally heard.