Time’s Up

Hundreds of Hollywood women form group to combat sexual abuse and workplace inequality

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood, California. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Three hundred of Hollywood’s most prominent women, including actresses, agents, writers, directors, and executives, have united to form Time’s Up, an organization that they hope will work to permanently change the status of women in the industry — and nationwide.

Already, the initiative is promoting legislation to stop the use of nondisclosure agreements in cases involving sexual harassment or assault — and to punish companies that tolerate or enable serial abusers who work for them. Following the November publishing of an open letter sent on behalf of 700,000 female farmworkers who said they would stand with Hollywood in the fight against systemic abuse, the group is also making a concerted effort to improve the station of working-class women — including the creation of a multi-million dollar legal defense fund that would support and protect women, such as janitors, nurses, and farmworkers, who reported sexual misconduct.

“It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house,” said producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes. “If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?”

The group announced its launch by taking out a full page ad in the print edition of the January 1 New York Times and other papers, which was used to deliver a powerful open letter. The letter was signed by all 300 hundred women, many of them Hollywood’s biggest names.

Time’s Up, an organization formed to combat sexual abuse and workplace inequality, introduced itself with a full-page ad in The New York Times on Monday. (Pip Cummings)

While Time’s Up has no official leader, members of the group meet weekly at the agencies’ offices and across L.A. as part of subgroups that work on different women’s equality initiatives. In December, a commission led by Anita Hill, who famously accused then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991, was founded to combat sexual harassment in the industry. Another Time’s Up offshoot, 50/50by2020, is pressuring entertainment companies to achieve gender parity in their upper leadership within the next two years — an initiative that already has received a pledge of support from prominent talent agency ICM Partners. Time’s Up has also been leading a push for LGBTQ rights, and has encouraged women to wear black in protest of gender and racial inequality at the Golden Globes on Sunday.

“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” said Time’s Up member Eva Longoria. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour. This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

Below, watch Time’s Up co-founders Nina Shawand Tina Tchen speak to Good Morning America about the group’s efforts to combat sexual harassment.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.