Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon and hundreds of Hollywood women launch anti-harassment initiative

Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes are among the more than 300 prominent women in Hollywood who have launched an initiative to combat sexual harassment in Tinseltown and beyond.

Time’s Up, as it’s called, was formally announced Monday with an open letter and a full-page ad in the New York Times and Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion. Several of its key players also took to social media to spread the word.

The initiative includes a legal defense fund to help women protect themselves from sexual misconduct, as well as proposed legislation to penalize negligent companies and to abate the use of nondisclosure agreements.

The group is pushing to reach gender parity at Hollywood studios and talent agencies and has called for women walking the red carpet at the upcoming Golden Globes to wear black as a sign of unity and to help raise awareness.

"To every woman,” the letter reads, “employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile, every garment and factory worker forced to trade sexual acts for more shifts, every domestic worker or home health aide forcibly touched by a client, every immigrant woman silenced by the threat of her undocumented status being reported in retaliation for speaking up and to women in every industry who are subjected to indignities and offensive behavior that they are expected to tolerate to make a living: We stand with you. We support you.”

The letter continues: "We remain committed to holding our own workplaces accountable, pushing for swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone, and telling women's stories through our eyes and voices with the goal of shifting our society's perception and treatment of women."

The collective’s website, www.timesupnow.com, includes resources and information on how to contribute.

The group is composed of actresses, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives. The New York Times reports that other Time’s Up members include actresses Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Kerry Washington; showrunner Jill Soloway; Universal Pictures chairwoman Donna Langley; and lawyers Nina L. Shaw and Tina Tchen, the latter of whom served as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff.

The formation of the initiative is in response to sexual harassment and assault allegations in recent months across Hollywood and beyond.

The most-read Entertainment stories this hour »

yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

Twitter: @villarrealy

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
55°