Powerful Women In Hollywood Join Forces To Combat Sexual Harassment

Actors involved in a new initiative include Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

According to The New York Times, a group of 300 women in the entertainment industry have created a large-scale initiative in the hopes of improving upon the working conditions of women in Hollywood. Providing concerete steps towards action, the project hopes to address the pervasive culture of sexual harassment present in the business.

The collective of women, which includes female actors, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives, have created a plan described by the Times as "ambitious [and] sprawling."

Some of the steps being taken includes the formation of a multi-million dollar legal defense fund for marginalized individuals who do not have the resources to take action against abusers and plans for symbolic protests against abuse.

The movement has been dubbed "Times Up" and was announced in an open letter that ran on a full-page ad in the Times on Monday.

“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,” the letter says.

“It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house,” said Shonda Rhimes, a prominent executive involved in the new program. “If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?”

Other notable women involved with the initiative are actresses Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Gillian Anderson, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

A sub-group has also been formed focusing on the issues of LGBTQ people within the industry. 

“No one wants to look back and say they stood at the sidelines,” said groundbreaking writer Lena Waithe.

“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” added Eva Longoria. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour ... This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

“We have been siloed off from each other,” echoed Reese Witherspoon said. “We’re finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn’t feel seen, to be finally heard.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

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