On Sunday evening, attendees of the 75th Golden Globe Awards honoring achievement in film and television dressed in black and wore Time’s Up pins to participate in a blackout that showed support and solidarity for the movement to combat workplace sexual harassment. The blackout was one of the first organized actions by the new Time’s Up campaign to fight workplace sexual harassment, both in the film industry and in other sectors that do not receive nearly as much public attention, such as farm work and domestic work.
In a New York Times interview on January 1, Time’s Up co-founder Eva Longoria described the blackout as, “a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment.” During red carpet interviews, blackout participants spoke out about gender workplace injustices in support of the Time’s Up movement including Will and Grace actress Debra Messing who said, “I’m wearing black to stand in solidarity with my sisters all over the globe. I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity, equal pay.” Actress and co-founder of Time’s Up, America Ferrera, spent her time on the red carpet explaining the need for the Time’s Up’s initiative. Ferrera says, “It’s our job right now, the time is now for us to do the work that will make women and all people more safe and more equal in their work places and in their lives.”
The blackout was not the only way people expressed and discussed their support of the Time’s Up initiative. Eight Hollywood actors and Time’s Up founders including Meryl Streep, Emma Stone and Amy Poehler brought gender and racial justice activists as their guests. The eight activists included former professional tennis-player, Billie Jean King, who battled sex discrimination in sports; Ai-Jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), an organization focused on fighting for the rights of domestic workers; Calina Lawrence, an activist dedicated to fighting for Native American Rights; and #MeToo founder and civil rights activist, Tarana Burke.
Golden Globes award winners also expressed support for Time’s Up in their speeches. Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to be honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Oprah delivered a powerful acceptance speech, discussing the history of sexual harassment politics and its ways of silencing women who are brave enough to speak out about their experiences. In her speech, Oprah speaks of the hard work that women and men collectively have done and will continue to do to end sexual harassment and says, “When the new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women and some pretty phenomenal men who are fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘me too’ again.”
Time’s Up, a group powered by women, seeks to dismantle barriers that prevent marginalized women from success. Time’s Up was sparked by the #MeToo movement, in which survivors of sexual assault and harassment have taken to social media to raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women, especially in the workplace.
On January 1, Time’s Up founders launched their new movement by publishing an open letter of solidarity written by 300 women. As written in the letter, Time’s Up “Seeks equal representation, opportunities, benefits and pay for all women workers, not to mention greater 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.” The letter also acknowledges the members of Alianza Nacional De Campesinas (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance) and farmworkers across the country whose sexual assault and experiences receive little public attention.
In their letter and mission statement, Time’s Up announced that the movement’s first step to helping women is to provide a legal defense fund that gives men and women more accessibility to seek justice and to hold their wrongdoers accountable. Since its launch on January 1, Time’s up has raised $15.86 million out of its $16 million goal for its legal defense fund.
The “Me Too” movement was originally founded by civil rights activist Tarana Burke nearly ten years ago in an attempt to unify people who have survived sexual assault, especially in underprivileged communities.
Media Resources: New York Times 1/1/18, 7/1/18; Vanity Fair 7/1/18; Harper’s Bazaar 7/1/18; Rewire 8/1/18; CNN 8/1/18; Feminist Majority Foundation 10/11/17