Following the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 and under the banner of a new initiative called "Time's Up", over 300 hundred artists, actresses, directors, and entertainment industry leaders on Monday issued a "unified call for change" to end the crisis of sexual harassment and assault that exists "from movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms" nationwide.
The initiative includes a legal defense fund, headed by Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, and backed by $13 million in donations, to help protect less privileged women from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.
"To the members of Alianza and farmworker women across the country, we see you, we thank you and we acknowledge the heavy weight of our common experience of being preyed upon, harassed and exploited by those who abuse their power and threaten our physical and economic security", Time's Up said.
Titled Time's Up, the project was announced via a display advertisement in the New York Times.
Though it has been spurred by the continuing allegations of sexual harassment and assault within Hollywood that have emerged after the initial exposure of producer Harvey Weinstein, the women say their focus is on women in workplace worldwide, including blue-collar ones. The group rapidly expanded and now includes meetings and workshops for participants in NY and London.More news: Ruling by South Africa's top court heaps more pressure on embattled Zuma
The open letter opens with "Dear sisters" and closes 'in solidarity'.
Time's Up also wants to put forth legislation to penalize companies that turn a blind eye to harassment, as well as discourage nondisclosure agreements meant to keep victims quiet, according to the Times.
And it called on women to wear black at Sunday's Golden Globes as a statement against gender and racial inequality, and to raise awareness about the group's efforts. "This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment", Longoria, who rose to fame in Desperate Housewives, told the paper. For years, we've sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colours and our lovely faces and our glamour. "This time the industry can't expect us to go up and twirl around".
Reese Witherspoon said the group offered an opportunity for women to join forces in an industry that has typically been run by men.