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Anti-sexual harassment defense fund launched by prominent Hollywood women

on January 01, 2018, 10:50am

A new advocacy group and legal defense fund called Time’s Up has been launched to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide, the New York Times reports. More than 300 prominent actresses, directors, screenwriters, talent agents, and entertainment executives are part of the initiative, including Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Ashley Judd, Rashida Jones, Transparent showrunner Jill Soloway, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes, and Tina Tchen, who served as former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff.

“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 group write in an open letter published in the New York Times on Monday.

Boasting a war chest of $13 million and counting, Time’s Up’s legal defense fund will be used to “to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.” Additionally, Time Up’s will push for “legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.”

Time’s Up is also launching a number of offshoot groups that will focus on specific causes. The Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace is tasked with creating a blueprint for ending sexual harassment in show business. 50/50by2020 is pushing entertainment companies to reach gender parity in their leadership tiers within two years. Yet another group will fight on the behalf of minorities and gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people.

Time’s Up will also have its presence felt at this weekend’s Golden Globe Awards, as its members will dress in black and use their time on the red carpet to raise awareness about their initiative.

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