Hollywood Women on Offensive Against Sexual Abusers

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Shonda Rhimes

By early Tuesday the initiative, also backed by Eva Longoria and Emma Stone, had raised almost $14 million of a $15 million target for a legal fund to help victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The letter, which is aimed at "every woman... who has had to fend off sexual advances", goes on to say that such harassment can often continue because "perpetrators and employers never face any consequences".

More than 300 show business figures including actors, writers and directors launched the Time's Up initiative with a full page advert in the New York Times on New Year's Day, pledging to support workers in all industries fight sexual misconduct.

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The "Time's Up" campaign follows on the heels of a torrent of allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment against powerful men that began with reports into sexual abuse by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The initiative was announced Monday in an open letter of solidarity addressed primarily to working-class women and signed by hundreds of women in Hollywood, including A-list actresses Kerry Washington, Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon, 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.

"Even though we work in very different environments, we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist and otherwise threaten our economic, physical and emotional security", the letter, published in November, said. "It's time to do something about it", the group's website declares. "The voices of those affected in every industry have been silenced for too long".

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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. "Time's up on silence. Time's up on tolerating discrimination, harassment or abuse", Oscar victor Portman wrote on Instagram.

Actresses are also being called upon to wear black at the Golden Globe awards on January 7 in solidarity with the movement.

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