Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon are among the 300 actresses and other powerful Hollywood figures to form Time’s Up, a new coalition aimed at combating sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace.
“Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences,” organizers wrote in an open letter. “We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible.”
“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,” organizers added. “Time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly.”
Per the New York Times, the new program will include a legal defense fund to help women, including janitors, nurses and farmworkers, protect themselves from sexual misconduct. Organizers are also looking to drive greater gender parity in Hollywood and propose “legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.”
The initiative piggybacks off of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization comprised primarily of farmworker women who penned an open letter in November on behalf of its 700,000 members supporting actors and actresses speaking out against sexual misconduct in Hollywood. Time’s Up organizers say they were inspired by the open letter to raise awareness and combat their own issues in the entertainment industry.
“It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house,” Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Shonda Rhimes told the New York Times. “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 organization was initially formed by a group of female talent agents in early October after sexual misconduct accusations were revealed against Harvey Weinstein. “We have been siloed off from each other,” Witherspoon told the Times. “We’re finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn’t feel seen, to be finally heard.”
“Powered by women, Time’s Up addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential,” the group writes on its website. “We partner with leading advocates for equality and safety to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies; help change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable. No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse. Time’s up.”