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Costume designer Ane Crabtree attends the Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 20, 2018 in California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for JumpLine)

Progress report

One year on, Time’s Up weighs its hits and misses at combating gender inequality in Hollywood — and beyond

February 21, 2019

A year on from the creation of Hollywood’s Time’s Up initiative, the star-studded women’s group has managed a number of remarkable successes in their efforts to combat sexism and harassment in the industry — and nationwide.

During the 2019 Golden Globes in January, actress Regina King followed through on a Time’s Up pledge to achieve gender equality both on and off screen by pledging that half of her productions’ hires over the next two year would be women. Appearing at the Sundance festival, actress Tessa Thompson promised to work under a female director for a feature film within the next 18 months — a commitment that would be echoed by dozens of actors, producers and seven major studios. Leading talent agencies ICM Partners and Creative Artists Agency, both of whom said last year that they would aim to achieve gender parity in pay and leadership by 2020, have also announced significant progress towards achieving their goals.

But perhaps the greatest success has been Time’s Up legal-defense fund for lower-wage workers, which now boasts nearly $25 million in donations. The group says the defense fund has already been contacted by thousands of women across 60 industries — and that $6 million has already been used to fund 100 legal case and investigations for cases involving sexism or harassment in the workplace.

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. (Pip Cummings)

Despite these achievements, the group has suffered some setbacks. This past week, Time’s Up chief executive Lisa Borders resigned due to family issues. Late on Thursday, following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, Time’s Up released a statement: “On Friday, Lisa Borders informed members of Time’s Up leadership that sexual assault allegations had been made against her son in a private forum. Within 24 hours, Lisa made the decision to resign as president and CEO of Time’s Up and we agreed that it was the right decision for all parties involved. All of our actions were fully guided by our support for survivors.”

In January, Skydance media ignored objections from Time’s Up to hire former Pixar founder John Lasseter, who left his roles at Pixar and Disney last year following accusations that he touched employees inappropriately and without their consent. In response, actress Emma Thompson has since withdrawn from a voice-over role in an upcoming production for the studio. But activists insist that the group’s capacity for creating change should not be overshadowed by these failures.

“Women are not outside banging on the doors,” said Time’s Up member Hillary Rosen. “Women inside the room, with power and money, are helping to make change for people who are still outside.”

This story has been updated to reflect the reason for Lisa Borders’ resignation. 

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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