Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, America Ferrera and Eva Longoria are among 300 women in Hollywood who launched an initiative on Monday called Time’s Up, which is aimed at protecting women who are facing sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond.
“The plan includes a legal defense fund seeded largely by donations from affluent women, a push for legislation to strengthen laws regarding workplace harassment and discrimination, and renewed backing for the “50/50 by 2020” push to bring parity to the executive suites at Hollywood studios and talent agencies,” Variety reported.
The initiative has been attributed to four Creative Artists Agency members, Maha Dakhil, Michelle Kydd Lee, Hylda Queally and Christy Haubegger. In an open letter, the initiative’s supporters made “an impassioned pledge of support to working-class women in an open letter signed by hundreds of women in show business, many of them A-listers”, New York Times reported.
“To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile, every garment and factory worker forced to trade sexual acts for more shifts, every domestic worker or home health aide forcibly touched by a client, every immigrant woman silenced by the threat of her undocumented status being reported in retaliation for speaking up and to women in every industry who are subjected to indignities and offensive behavior that they are expected to tolerate to make a living: We stand with you. We support you,” the letter read. “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; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,” the letter says.
The defence fund includes contributions by Rhimes, Witherspoon, Universal Pictures head Donna Langley, Justin Timberlake, Ashley Judd, Jessica Chastain, Jessica Biel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Stacey Snider, Felicity Huffman, Megan Ellison, Kate Hudson, Viola Davis, Ava DuVernay, Alicia Vikander, Amy Poehler and Taylor Swift.