Top Hollywood women launch anti-harassment plan

WASHINGTON: More than 300 major actresses and female writers, directors, agents and other entertainment executives unveiled an initiative Monday to tackle pervasive sexual harassment in Hollywood and working class jobs across the United States.

Time’s Up includes a legal defense fund that has so far raised some $13.4 million of its $15 million goal to provide subsidised legal support to women and men who were sexually harassed, assaulted or abused in the workplace.

The plan gives special focus to low-wage agriculture workers, housekeepers, janitors, factory workers and waitresses.

“Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences,” read a “letter of solidarity” on the group’s website.

The open letter, published as a full-page ad in The New York Times and the Spanish-language La Opinion, opens with “Dear sisters” and closes “in solidarity.”

Time’s Up also calls for more women in positions of power and leadership, as well as equal benefits, opportunities, pay and representation for women, and urges the media to turn the spotlight on abuses in “less glamorized and valorized trades.”

“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,” the letter reads.

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The movement was formed after a deluge of allegations disrupted or ended the careers of powerful male leaders in entertainment but also in big business, politics and the media, sparked by the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal.

Time’s Up members include actresses Cate Blanchett, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep, Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley, feminist writer Gloria Steinem, lawyer and ex-Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and Nike Foundation co-chair Maria Eitel.

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