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Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Meryl Streep among powerful women in anti-harassment group

A group of more than 1,000 women in entertainment have detailed a comprehensive plan to combat sexual harassment acro...

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 11:07 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 11:07 AM

A group of more than 1,000 women in entertainment have detailed a comprehensive plan to combat sexual harassment across industries.

Time's Up was officially unveiled Monday in a story by The New York Times, though the group was formed not long after the first round of allegations against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein came to light in October.

Director Ava DuVernay, producer Kathleen Kennedy and dozens of actors, including America Ferrera, Emma Stone and Constance Wu, laid out the mission of Time's Up in an open letter.

The women said they were encouraged to find ways to battle harassment in all industries after receiving a letter of support from Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworker Women's Alliance) in November.

In that letter, the alliance acknowledged the outpouring of stories about gender-based violence and discrimination in entertainment, but wrote, "sadly, we're not surprised because it's a reality we know far too well."

"Countless farmworker women across our country suffer in silence because of the widespread sexual harassment and assault that they face at work," the alliance's letter read.

Related: 2017 was the year of (certain) women's voices

Time's Up intends to use the platform given to women in entertainment to fight for equality on behalf of women in all fields, it said.

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

Time's Up has already put together a $13 million fund to subsidize legal support for "women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace," according to its GoFundMe page.

Major donors to the fund include Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, according to the fundraiser page.

Hollywood agencies ICM Partners, William Morris Endeavor, United Talent Agency and Creative Arts Agency have each donated $1 million or more.

The National Women's Law Center will house the fund and distribute resources, including lawyers and public relations professionals that will work with the Center's Legal Network for Gender Equity "to provide assistance to those ready to stand up," the fundraiser page said.

Time's Up, which the Times reports does not have a singular leader and is instead made up of several teams tackling different efforts, will push for legislation aimed at curtailing harassment. The organization is also advocating for gender parity at movie and television studios and other entertainment companies.

"We just reached this conclusion in our heads that, damn it, everything is possible," Rhimes told the Times. "Why shouldn't it be?"

Time's Up is encouraging women to wear black at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday to demonstrate against gender and racial inequality and raise awareness for their initiative.

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