Time's up for Hollywood harassment, say leading actors

From left actor Eva Longoria producer Shonda Rhimes and actor Reese Witherspoon are among the backers of Time's Up a movement that grew out of Hollywood that aims to eradicate sexual harassment and promote workplace gender equity

The defense fund itself will be administered by the National Women's Law Center, and it includes a GoFundMe page (HERE) that was seeking to raise an initial $15 million to begin.

The initiative was launched Monday with an open letter in The New York Times vowing support for women in the entertainment business and beyond, from cleaners to health care workers.

'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.

If you have ever experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct while working in the entertainment industry, we'd like to hear from you.

One of Time's Up major aspects is a legal defense fund for which the organization is now soliciting donations via a GoFundMe.

By noon on New Year's Day, the fund had raised more than $13.4 million - much of it coming from high-profile Hollywood women.

The group is one answer to the question of how women in Hollywood would respond to cascading allegations that have upended the careers of powerful men in an industry where the prevalence of sexual predation has yielded the minimizing cliche of the "casting couch", and where silence has been a condition of employment. They're also concerned with gender equality in studios and talent agencies, and discouraging non-disclosure agreements, which are often used to stop employees from speaking out about negative treatment.

The initiative was announced today in an open letter of solidarity addressed primarily to working-class women and signed by hundreds of women in Hollywood, including A-list actresses Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Emma Stone, America Ferrera and Natalie Portman; producers Shonda Rhimes and Jill Soloway; Universal Pictures executive Donna Langley; and lawyers Nina L. Shaw and Tina Tchen.

The lengthy letter acknowledges that women in Hollywood have access to "enormous platforms" to spread their stories of abuse and that farmworkers, janitors, housekeepers, waitresses deserve the same attention.

Efforts to fight sexual harassment were energized in recent months after it was revealed that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had allegedly been intimidating, harassing and abusing women for decades.

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