In an effort to stamp out inequality and promote safety in the workplace, an unprecedented number of Hollywood’s leading women today formally launched a campaign titled Time’s Up.
"Earning a living should not come at the cost of anyone's safety, dignity or morale," said Shonda Rhimes, (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) about the campaign’s launch.
Part of this effort is the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will assist individuals in the workplace who have experienced sexual misconduct, assault, abuse or harassment find legal representation. The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund will be housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center. Participating attorneys will work with the Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equality in an effort to enable more people to come forward and secure legal assistance.
"Every person should get to work in an environment free from abuse, assault and discrimination. 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,” said Rhimes. “51-percent of our population is female, over 30-percent of our population is of color. Those are important, vital, economically powerfully voices that need to be heard at every level. 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. 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."
Behind this formal launch there was already underway an effort to support the campaign. Hollywood’s leading women en masse donated more than $13-million from over 200 donors for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. This money will go toward the costs of lawyers and communications professionals from across the country to provide assistance to those who experience sexual harassment. The founding donors include: Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, Shonda Rhimes, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg's Wunderkinder Foundation, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), ICM Partners (ICM), Paradigm Talent Agency, United Talent Agency (UTA) and William Morris Endeavor (WME).
The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is spearheaded by attorneys Tina Tchen and Roberta Kaplan and top PR professionals.
"The magnitude of the past few months highlights the fact that sexual harassment against women in the workplace is endemic and t
ouches every industry," said Tchen. "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. And we are thrilled to partner with Fatima Goss Graves and the National Women's Law Center to assure the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund's success."
The Time’s Up team in mid-December saw entertainment industry executives, independent experts and advisors create the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, chaired by Anita Hill.
"Receiving unanimous support from the entertainment industry's leaders to form and fund the Commission is an important first step in tackling the broad culture of abuse and power disparity. We all know that safe and inclusive work environments result in stronger and more successful businesses," said producer Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars, E.T.). "Our goal is to define a work environment where the basic principles of respect, human decency and equality define the workplace everywhere."
In addition to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and the Commission, Time’s Up is working closely with 5050by2020, “believing a shift in power and leadership is imperative to make change.”
This group advocates for a 50/50 model where women are equally represented at every level, especially in leadership positions and positions of power.
“5050by2020 has already received commitments for gender parity by 2020 from leaders in the industry, including CAA and ICM,” states the Time’s Up team.
image credit: 5050by2020
ON THE WEB:
Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/timesup
Full list of founding donors: https://www.gofundme.com/timesup