Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Reese Witherspoon are among those backing the initiative
Over three hundred women working within the industry have launched the ‘Time’s Up’ initiative, with the aim of combatting systemic sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Backed by the likes of Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Reese Witherspoon, the initiative includes a $13m legal defense fund to help those in less privileged positions protect themselves from assault and the legal ramifications of reporting it.
“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,” reads an open letter launching the campaign.
They also plan to promote legislation to penalise companies which tolerate harassment, and to combat the use of non-disclosure agreements to shield abusers.
Women within the initiative are being encouraged to dress in all black at red carpet events. “This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” actor Eva Longoria told the New York Times. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colours and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” Longoria added. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
The initiative comes in the wake of the #MeToo hashtag, which saw women sharing their stories of sexual assault and abuse in an act of solidarity. It followed the exposing of Hollywood exec Harvey Weinstein, who has been at the centre of a criminal investigation since late October, after an extensive outpouring of allegations including rape and sexual assault from women in both America and the UK. He “unequivocally denies” any non-consensual sex.