Have you seen the hashtag #TimesUp circling around the Internet especially among celebrities? Or did you hear Oprah Winfrey’s stunning speech at the Golden Globes where she repeated, “Their time is up,” with such passion? All of this reference to “Times Up” has to do with a new movement in Hollywood to end sexual harassment. The hashtag, #TimesUp, most easily refers to, “The time is up for sexual harassers and assaulters in powerful positions, taking advantage of others and profiting on that power.”
The #TimesUp movement is the next step in the #MeToo movement which began in 2017, when celebrities and non-celebrities began speaking out about the sexual assault and harassment in their respective industries. This led to the fall of such giants like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Glen Thrush, Roy Moore, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, and many more.
While #MeToo was a social media movement, the Times Up movement is an organized initiative with 300 women in Hollywood coming together to push this initiative forward and end sexual harassment. While there’s no official leader to the group, according to Time, Shonda Rhimes, director Ava DuVernay and actor Reese Witherspoon are three of the major organizers. Times Up has many subsets of groups too who want to combat sexual harassment aimed toward high-risk groups like the LGBT community, women of color, the poor, and the working class.
Though we have only begun 2018, the Times Up movement have already started working to make a change. Here’s how:
1. They published a letter in the New York Times.
The Times Up group began the new year with a letter published in the New York Times.
It explained: “Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences. We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed and to know that accountability is possible.”
Times Up acknowledged their privilege and access to platforms like the NYT which helps amplify their voices in comparison to female farm workers whose voices are not heard as easily.
With this in mind, they wrote, “We seek equal respresentation, opportunities, benefits and pay for all women workers, not to mention great representation of women of color, immigrant women, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women whose experiences in the workforce are often significantly worse than their white, cisgender, straight peers.”
2. They formed a legal defense fund.
The amazing women of Times Up has formed a legal defense fund that has already received $16 million in donations to help women to report sexual assault or harassment in the work place. You can donate here.
3. They wore black to the Golden Globes.
The group encouraged Hollywood to wear black “to stand in solidarity with our sisters to say #timesup on the imbalance of power across ALL industries.”
Actor Eva Longoria told the New York Times, “This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment.”
“For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” she added. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
And wear black they did! There were many great moments of actresses speaking out such as Oprah Winfrey’s iconic speech and Natalie Portman’s call out of the lack of women directors in the “Best Director” category.
4. Working to change legislation.
The group is also focusing on creating legislation that will penalize companies that tolerate harassment and allow it to continue. This legislation will also focus on discouraging the use of nondisclosure agreements which makes it difficult for women to speak out about sexual harassment and assault.
5. Gender parity in leadership roles.
The group 50/50 by 2020 is a subgroup of the Times Up group and is pushing the entertainment industry to change the leadership dynamic in Hollywood to reflect an equal portion of men and women in leadership positions. Shonda Rhimes has already got a win for this goal, by pushing Chris Silberman of ICM Partners to pledge to do this within his talent agency.
While the work of Times Up has just begun, it’s a very exciting time of women coming together to fight against injustice and make a change in the best way possible — by being inclusive of sisters of all types of racial and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, class, religion, abilities, and more.