Time’s Up for Sexual Harassment in Hollywood


Courtesy of Phil Roeder

Many topics present in the Time’s Up movement correspond to social issues still relevant today.

Dana Lee, Social Media Editor

In the wake of the recent sexual harassment charges against many of Hollywood’s elite men, the women of Hollywood are now stepping up to address systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace. The Time’s Up initiative, which is led by powerful female actresses, directors, producers, writers, and executives, is the latest movement that is working to empower the victims of workplace harassment and to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
The initiative did not start with the Time’s Up movement, but a movement called #MeToo. Although it was originally founded in 2006 to support survivors of sexual harassment, the #MeToo movement recirculated in the media in light of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, was accused of sexually harassing multiple women for decades of his career, becoming a prominent example of abuse of power in Hollywood. Through the hashtag “MeToo,” women all over the world began to share their personal experiences of sexual harassment.
Since then, the crimes of countless well-known men in the entertainment, media, politics, and business industries have been exposed to the world, and many of them have been forced to resign. The Time’s Up initiative was formed as the next step for the #MeToo movement in order to make the movement more inclusive, systemized, and politically effective. The movement has no single leader, and it is run by volunteers and working groups. Some of the movement’s prominent members include celebrities such as actresses Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, and Emma Stone, as well as producer Shonda Rhimes and director Ava DuVernay.
The Time’s Up movement officially began on January 1, 2018, when a group of more than 300 women began the new year by uploading a powerful letter titled “Dear Sisters,” which was written on behalf of the “courageous individuals [who] revealed the dark truth of ongoing sexual harassment and assault by powerful people in the entertainment industry.”
“Time’s Up is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere,” The Time’s Ups website claims. “From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live.”
The emotional letter acknowledges the strength of all women that endure exploitation “for fear that we will be attacked and ruined in the process of speaking out.” It states that “We stand with you, we support you,” and urges that they can now confide to others without fear of being discredited, or dismissed . Most importantly, the letter demands for more women, especially women of color, female immigrants, and women in the LGBTQ community, to be hired in positions of power and leadership and also demands for legislation that penalizes sexual misconduct in the workplace more effectively.
In an effort to provide victims with legal support and resources to fight back against their perpetrators, the Time’s Up website also implores people to donate to the cause. “Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences,” the Time’s Up letter declares. “This is often because survivors in low-wage industries don’t often have the resources to fight back.”So far, the Time’s Up movement has made a significant impact in the entertainment industry. As of January 18, the campaign’s GoFundMe page has raised nearly nineteen million dollars in nineteen days. Every single cent of the donations is administered by the National Women’s Law Center, an established national women’s rights legal association, and will be used to give legal assistance to less fortunate victims. The movement for women’s rights triumphed earlier in the year when Time Magazine recognized The Silence Breakers, women that launched the movement to end sexual harassment, as its much anticipated Person of the Year.
Most recently, the Time’s Up movement made headlines all over the world when it organized for celebrities to wear all black to the Golden Globes to support the victims. Many celebrities even wore an official Time’s Up pin to show support for the movement.The Time’s Up mission is far from complete but is a proven step forwards in the fight to end sexual misconduct in America.