300 Hollywood women announce initiative to fight sexual harassment in all workplaces

Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes are among those supporting the initiative.

ByABC News
January 1, 2018, 3:56 PM

— -- The #MeToo movement has given rise to #TimesUp, an initiative by 300 prominent women in the entertainment industry to fight sexual harassment and gender disparity in every workplace across the country from "movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike."

"TIME’S UP is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere," the initiative's website reads. "From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live."

The initiative was announced today in an open letter of solidarity addressed primarily to working-class women and signed by hundreds of women in Hollywood, including A-list actresses Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Emma Stone, America Ferrera and Natalie Portman; producers Shonda Rhimes and Jill Soloway; Universal Pictures executive Donna Langley; and lawyers Nina L. Shaw and Tina Tchen.

The letter ran as a full-page ad in The New York Times and the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion.

"We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible," the letter reads.

The initiative includes a legal defense fund, headed by Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, and backed by $13 million in donations, to help protect less privileged women from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.

It also includes an effort to increase gender parity across all industries, including Hollywood.

"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 letter reads.

By this afternoon, the #TimesUp hashtag and letter had gone viral with the help of its powerful backers.

"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?" Rhimes told The New York Times.

According to the newspaper, Time’s Up was formed soon after producer Harvey Weinstein was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, unleashing a reckoning in Hollywood that has led to the ouster of several prominent men in the industry and given steam to the #MeToo movement of women who’ve come forward with allegations of their own harassment.

Weinstein, via his spokesman, has repeatedly denied "any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”

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