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We wanted to bring men into the conversation: David Schwimmer on his anti-sexual harassment campaign

Partnering with filmmaker Sigal Avin, the ‘Friends’ actor had released short public service announcements about harassment at the workplace last year.

Actor David Schwimmer has explained why he decided to bring out a series of short films with filmmaker Sigal Avin about sexual harassment at the workplace. Speaking to TV show host Megyn Kelly on her morning show on Monday, the Friends star said that a part of their goal was “to really try to bring men into the conversation.”

“I certainly understand why, right now in the current climate, men are reluctant to come forward and speak – which is a shame, because nothing’s going to be accomplished without dialogue,” the actor said.

Tagged as #ThatsHarassment, the PSAs – six in all – depicted various examples of sexual harassment at the workplace, all based on real-life instances. The videos were originally released in April last year, before the exposes against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in October started an international conversation on institutionalised sexual harassment. To increase their campaign’s relevance post the scandal, Schwimmer and Avin partnered with the Ad Council to include in their videos “calls to action”, a national help hotline and also created a digital toolkit to help employers prevent harassment at the workplace. The videos have also been cut to 30 seconds to be screened as public service announcements.

Schwimmer elaborated on this aspect of the campaign in an opinion piece on the NBC news website on Tuesday. “That, to me, is the most important piece of #ThatsHarassment: We’re not just a movement to bring awareness to the issue, we are a campaign and a call to action,” Schwimmer wrote. “We are trying to provide real solutions to both get people empowered to report and heal, and to get companies to reform their workplaces. I want to change things.”

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