"The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it," reads an initiative launched Monday by 300+ Hollywood women. It’s called TIME’S UP, and it came just in time for the New Year.
Among those involved include big names like industry powerhouses Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Brie Larson.
I stand with ALL WOMEN across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, marginalization and underrepresentation. Join me! Sign the statement of solidarity & donate to the @TIMESUPNW Legal Defense Fund: https://t.co/7FofMhTaUJ pic.twitter.com/vEB3jYCRgD— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) January 1, 2018
Our letter of solidarity as a full page in the @nytimes ! #TIMESUP my Dear Sisters, reSisters, perSisters! Stand with women across every industry in saying: #TIMESUP. The @TIMESUPNW Legal Defense Fund provides subsidized legal support across industries! pic.twitter.com/n4U2Rn0EMO— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) January 2, 2018
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Time's up on silence. Time's up on waiting. Time's up on tolerating discrimination, harassment and abuse. #TimesUp Sign the solidarity letter & donate to the @TIMESUPNW Legal Defense Fund: https://t.co/eTwKtOboIl pic.twitter.com/q8aok1HTGg— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) January 1, 2018
One of their commitments is to a Legal Defense Fund fronted by attorneys Tina Tchen — who formerly worked as Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff — and Roberta Kaplan. The Fund has raised over $13.5 million of the $15 million goal in just 12 days.
"TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund will provide subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers," the GoFundMe page reads. "The Fund will ultimately be housed at and administrated by the National Women’s Law Center [NWLC], an established, national women’s rights legal organization."
"The magnitude of the past few months highlights the fact that sexual harassment against women in the workplace is endemic and touches every industry," Tchen said in a statement on the NWLC website. "We are a community of women and men who can no longer stand idly by. This is the first of many concrete actions we will take."
According the statement, the Fund has received donations from over 200 donors, "to help defray costs for lawyers and communications professionals from across the country to provide assistance to those who experience sexual harassment." Founding donors include a handful of actresses mentioned earlier and agencies such as the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and ICM Partners (ICM).
More that TIME’S UP is doing
TIME’S UP is also working with the group 5050by2020 to achieve a 50/50 gender parity model where, as the NWLC statement explains, "women are equally represented at every level — especially in leadership positions and in positions of power" by the year 2020.
They’re asking industry organizations such as studios, networks and talent agencies to take a closer look at the people they have employed and to re-evaluate their gender parity ratio.
The 5050by2020 site states that they have already achieved small but mighty victories. One of TIME’S UP’s founding donors, ICM Partners, among other agencies, has pledged its commitment to reaching this 50/50 ratio by 2020, with an emphasis on leadership roles, according to a Hollywood Reporter exclusive.
"It's not enough to have 50 percent [female] employees," ICM managing director Chris Silbermann told the publication. "Women have to be equally represented in true positions of leadership and influence throughout the company."
In December, TIME’S UP also launched the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. Chaired by attorney Anita Hill, it will "lead the entertainment industry toward alignment in achieving safer, fairer, more equitable and accountable workplaces — particularly for women and marginalized people."
In addition, TIME’S UP is calling for Hollywood women to wear black in the upcoming Golden Globes Sunday night to raise awareness, according to the New York Times. But it won’t just be women — some men in the industry have vowed to participate in the red carpet blackout as well.
According to PEOPLE, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of them. His stylist, Ilaria Urbinati, posted to Instagram: "Because everyone keeps asking me... YES, the men WILL be standing in solidarity with women on this wearing-all-black movement to protest against gender inequality at this year’s Golden Globes. At least ALL MY GUYS will be…"
The Rock commented, "Yes we will."
Urbinati also works with actors such as Tom Hiddleston and Garrett Hedlund.
Because everyone keeps asking me... YES, the men WILL be standing in solidarity with women on this wearing-all-black movement to protest against gender inequality at this year’s Golden Globes. At least ALL MY GUYS will be. Safe to say this may not be the right time to choose to be the odd man out here... just sayin...
TIME'S UP open letter
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, a national organization representing around 700,000 female farmworkers, published a letter of solidarity with the women of Hollywood who came forward during the peak of the #MeToo campaign.
"We write on behalf of the approximately 700,000 women who work in the agricultural fields and packing sheds across the United States," the letter states. "For the past several weeks we have watched and listened with sadness as we have learned of the actors, models and other individuals who have come forward to speak out about the gender based violence they’ve experienced at the hands of bosses, coworkers and other powerful people in the entertainment industry. We wish that we could say we’re shocked to learn that this is such a pervasive problem in your industry. Sadly, we’re not surprised because it’s a reality we know far too well."
Read the full letter here.
TIME’S UP responded with an open letter of their own published in the New York Times on Jan. 1.
"At one of our most difficult and vulnerable moments, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (the National Farmworker Women’s Alliance) send us a powerful and compassionate message of solidarity for which we are deeply grateful," the letter reads. "To the members of Alianza and farmworker women across the country, we see you, we thank you, and we acknowledge the heavy weight of our common experience of being preyed upon, harassed, and exploited by those who abuse their power and threaten our physical and economic security."
"Unfortunately, too many centers of power — from legislatures to boardrooms to executive suites and management to academia — lack gender parity and women do not have equal decision-making authority," the letter states. "This systemic gender-inequality and imbalance of power fosters an environment that is ripe for abuse and harassment against women. Therefore, we call for a significant increase of women in positions of leadership and power across industries. In addition, we seek equal representation, opportunities, benefits and pay for all women workers, not to mention greater representation of women of color, immigrant women, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women, whose experiences in the workforce are often significantly worse than their white, cisgender, straight peers."
We stand in solidarity with Alianza Nacional de Campesinas and women across every industry to combat abuse, harassment, marginalization, and underrepresentation. The $13m @TIMESUPNW Legal Defense Fund is just the beginning. This is not a drill. #TIMESUP https://t.co/a0qtkachdJ pic.twitter.com/B5XGy37FCv— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 1, 2018
The letter closes with a vow of commitment to holding workplaces accountable and fighting for a "safe and equitable place for everyone."
Read the full letter here.
What you can do
TIME’S UP’s "What you can do" tab acts as a resource for those who want to participate in the campaign and learn more about it.
It includes points such as, "For starters, don’t harass anyone," and "If you know someone who has been harassed, connect them to resources who can help." These resources are listed on the site’s "Where To Get Help" tab and include BetterBrave and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
People are also urged to donate to the Legal Defense Fund. To do so, click here.
More tips include the following:
- If you are a witness or bystander and see a harassing situation, you can help the person being harassed. You could actually intervene. You could confront the harasser. You could also help the person get out of the harassing situation. If you cannot do any of these things, you can still support the harassed person by corroborating and confirming the account of what happened.
- Acknowledge that talent is equally distributed, but work and career opportunities are not. Mentor someone from an under-represented group in your industry. If you are in a position to do so, hire someone who can diversify the perspectives included in your organization; your team will be better and stronger for it.
"TIME’S UP is working to make sure the people walking the corridors of power within the workplace and in politics truly reflect the full mix of America – the real America that looks like and includes all of us," Shonda Rhimes said in the NWLC statement. "Look, this isn’t going to be easy but it is right. And fighting for what is right can seem hard. But letting what is wrong become normal is not easier — it is just more shameful."