Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Some of Hollywood's most powerful women have teamed up to launch an initiative aimed at combating sexual harassment inside and outside their industry after an avalanche of allegations set in motion by the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
In a full-page open letter published in Monday's New York Times, 300 prominent actresses, female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives announced the campaign called "Time's Up."
The Time's Up initiative includes:
- A $13 million legal defense fund to help women in blue-collar jobs and farm work
- Drafting of legislation to punish companies that tolerate sexual harassment and to discourage nondisclosure agreements in such cases.
- A push to reach gender parity in Hollywood studios and talent agencies; and a call for women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes to wear black as a sign of protest and solidarity.
A commission headed by Anita Hill and composed of and funded by some of the most powerful names in Hollywood has been created to tackle widespread sexual abuse and harassment in the media and entertainment industries.
Called the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, the initiative was spearheaded by Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm; Maria Eitel, the co-chair of the Nike Foundation; the powerhouse attorney Nina Shaw; and Freada Kapor Klein, the venture capitalist who helped pioneer surveys on sexual harassment decades ago.
The commission’s mission, according to a news release, is to “tackle the broad culture of abuse and power disparity.”
“The commission will lead the entertainment industry toward alignment in achieving safer, fairer, more equitable and accountable workplaces —particularly for women and marginalized people,” according to a statement released Friday evening.
Employers can hit sexual harassers hard—in the pocketbook. There are a variety of channels by which to claw back compensation and benefits from bad-acting employees. The smartest employers have for years aimed those threats at employees who violate noncompete and trade secret protections. Now, they may want to toughen up their benefit plans and stock awards, because routine harassment training may not have the in terrorem effect that could come through broad-based forfeitures and clawback.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. announced an initiative Sunday to ensure there are proper procedures in place to protect law clerks and other court employees from sexual harassment, saying it is clear that the federal judiciary “is not immune” from a widespread problem.
The statement, in Roberts’s 2017 State of the Judiciary Report , follows the retirement last month of Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.