Hollywood women announce initiative to fight sexual harassment in all workplaces

From left actor Eva Longoria producer Shonda Rhimes and actor Reese Witherspoon are among the backers of Time's Up a movement that grew out of Hollywood that aims to eradicate sexual harassment and promote workplace gender equity

Hollywood women announce initiative to fight sexual harassment in all workplaces

The campaign, which is backed by hundreds of actresses including Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Eva Longoria and Emma Stone, has already raised more than $13m (£9.6m) of its $15m target.

On its website, the campaign says: "The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace".

It will include a legal defence fund for victims across different industries, backed by Dollars 13 million in donations, and will advocate for legislation combating workplace harassment.

The initiative has been described as a "unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere".

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"If this group of women can't fight for a model for other women who don't have as much power and privilege", Rhimes told the Times, "then who can?"

In a sense, Time's Up is being launched as a companion to the #MeToo movement that grew out of the spontaneous response to revelations about Hollywood's "casting-couch" system of sexual predation and enduring gender-pay disparities. The group rapidly expanded and now includes meetings and workshops for participants in NY and London.

The initiative also requested women actors to wear black at the red carpet of the upcoming Golden Globes Awards.

The initiative was launched with an open letter vowing support for women in the entertainment business and beyond, from janitors to healthcare workers.

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"For years, we've sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our attractive faces and our glamour", she said.

The initiative, dubbed Time's Up, caps a year in which the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal touched off a deluge of allegations that brought down powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, prompting companies, government agencies and even the U.S. federal court system to re-examine harassment policies.

Donors include Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw, and leading talent agencies that are under pressure to reform their practices in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

"To the members of Alianza and farmworker women across the country, we see you, we thank you and we acknowledge the heavy weight of our common experience of being preyed upon, harassed and exploited by those who abuse their power and threaten our physical and economic security", Time's Up said. So far, people have donated more than $13 million to the fund.

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