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David Schwimmer teams up with director Sigal Avin for anti-harassment campaign

April 4, 2017

Former Friends star David Schwimmer has teamed up with an Israeli-American filmmaker to create a series of five shorts on sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to Cosmopolitan, director Sigal Avin initially created and aired the series in Israel, in the hopes of creating a visual representation of the nuances of workplace harassment. The films were based on real-life stories, including one by Avin, who said that a “very famous star” once exposed his penis to her during a meeting.

To bring the series to America, Avin collaborated with Schwimmer and Mazdack Rassi, co-founder and creative director of Milk Studios in New York City. The shorts are now available on YouTube, and feature appearances by the likes of Cynthia Nixon, Emmy Rossum, and Cristela Alonzo.

The goal of the series, Schwimmer told Cosmo, is to highlight the sort of uncomfortable moments that women might be inclined to shrug off or dismiss. “When you’ve been objectified your entire life and become accustomed to being a second-class citizen in many, many ways — constantly told that you aren’t worth the same as men, basically, and that your body comes first, or what you look like comes first — it makes a lot more sense to me that a lot of women don’t even recognize when they’re being harassed,” he said. “Because you spend your whole life not being treated with the kind of respect that men are automatically given.”

Sigal said that she hopes the film encourages women to “speak up” in the face of inappropriate behavior — no matter how subtle or underhanded it might be. “That’s what I would want women to take from these films,” she said. “To talk. To know what’s happening. Just to be able to really understand what they want and what they don’t want, and to be able to say it with no fear.”

Below, watch one installment of the series that Schwimmer appears.

Read the full story at Cosmopolitan.