Hundreds of women in Hollywood rang in 2018 with an important message for workplace harassers everywhere: Time’s up.
With full page ads in The New York Times and the Spanish-language La Opinión, some of the most prominent and powerful women in Hollywood announced the creation of a $13 million legal defense fund aimed at helping people of all industries seek justice for workplace harassment.
“We write on behalf of [over 1,000] women who work in film, television and theater,” begins the letter, signed by the likes of Ashley Judd, America Ferrera, Rashida Jones, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, and Shonda Rhimes.
The group credits Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (the National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), whose powerful letter of support and solidarity — signed by 700,000 women farmers — with the women of Hollywood helped inspire Time’s Up’s creation.
The #MeToo movement has been criticized by some working class women for its laser-like focus on high-profile harassers in the entertainment industry. Time’s Up hopes to shine a light on how widespread the problem really is.
“We also recognize our privilege and the fact that we have access to enormous platforms to amplify our voices,” the letter reads. “Both of which have drawn and driven widespread attention to the existence of this problem in our industry that farmworker women and countless individuals employed in other industries have not been afforded.”
“We also want all victims and survivors to be able to access justice and support for the wrongdoing they have endured. We particularly want to lift up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation,” the letter continues.
While Time’s Up raises money via crowdsourcing site GoFundMe, a number of big names are putting their money where their mouths are.
Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, and Jennifer Aniston each donated $500,000 to the defense fund. Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey chipped in for $100,000 each. Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone, and Jessica Chastain donated $50,000 a piece. Anne Hathaway, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Blake Lively, Scarlett Johansson, Debra Messing, America Ferrera, Chelsea Hander, Eva Longoria, Keira Knightley, Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, Jane Fonda, Megan Mullally, Rashida Jones, Susan Sarandon, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner, Amy Poehler, Kate Hudson, and Julianne Moore all put forward more than $10,000 for the cause.
GoFundMe waived its platform fee for the campaign, and donations are tax-deductible.
Stars took to social media to help spread the word, adding a personal touch to the project.
“Transparent” creator Jill Soloway called the experience of working to help launch Time’s Up “beautiful and radical.”
Actress Amber Tamblyn saved a number of copies of the Times ad in hopes of inspiring a future generation of badass women.
Larson called out “abuse, harassment, marginalization and underrepresentation” across industries, and Anna Paquin put a special emphasis on the importance of centering marginalized groups. The letter originally omitted any mention of disabled individuals, something Ferrera hoped to remedy in future iterations.
I stand with women across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, marginalization & underrepresentation. Join me! Sign the statement of solidarity & donate to the @TIMESUPNW Legal Defense Fund: https://t.co/MPJHYYfobM pic.twitter.com/jiVQ7NZUyD
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) January 1, 2018
#TIMESUP on anyone in any context (of any gender identity, race, orientation, age, immigration status, and I’m sure I’m missing other vulnerable populations) having to endure harassment, abuse, fear, intimidation or any other ugly behavior. https://t.co/7bjhjfLAlf
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) January 1, 2018
Rhimes, Piper Perabo, and Mira Sorvino all tweeted support and added context.
I signed this letter of solidarity to stand with women across every industry: #TIMESUP. The @TIMESUPNOW Legal Defense Fund provides subsidized legal to those who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace. #DueProcess https://t.co/4JwVeuvAOr
— Piper Perabo (@PiperPerabo) January 1, 2018
The movement is starting to make real change as it widens to amplify everyone’s voices, not just those in more publicized places, and as it funds legal action which will be the teeth of the promised bite… thank you my sisters and brothers everywhere #TimesUp https://t.co/95WRwbkSQd
— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) January 2, 2018
Ferrera sported a Time’s Up t-shirt in one of her tweets, and Messing added that she’s “proud to be a member and to stand with [her] sisters.”
Our letter of solidarity as a full page in the @nytimes ! #TIMESUP my Dear Sisters, reSisters, perSisters! Stand with women across every industry in saying: #TIMESUP. The @TIMESUPNW Legal Defense Fund provides subsidized legal support across industries! pic.twitter.com/n4U2Rn0EMO
— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) January 2, 2018
Time’s Up co-founder and former chief of staff to Michelle Obama Tina Tchen weighed in as well.
TIMES UP on sexual harassment in every workplace. I’m proud to be working with courageous women and men who are coming forward and lawyers who believe in justice and fairness through the TIMES UP Legal Defense Fund. Join us at https://t.co/9AZUOXbtas! #TIMESUP
— Tina Tchen (@TinaTchen) January 1, 2018
We want to use the power of the law for the factory worker. The waitress. The teacher. The office worker. You. It’s 2018. And NOW is the time to finally put an end to something that has been swept under the rug for too long. #TIMESUP
— NWLC (@nwlc) January 1, 2018
There’s no telling what 2018 has in store for all of us, but the launch of Time’s Up is a pretty great way to start.