Raisman, survivors accept courage award at ESPYs

It took courage for all of disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar‘s victims to speak out on his heinous acts of sexual abuse. And it was that same courage that was recognized at this year’s ESPY Awards.

According to USA Today, Olympian Aly Raisman and over 140 survivors hit the stage of the 2018 ESPYs to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award not only for their efforts in shedding light on Nassar’s years of abuse, but also for representing the issue of sexual abuse at large.

Sarah Klein — who USA Today says described herself as Nassar’s first victim nearly 30 years ago — explained to the crowd just how difficult it was to stand up and speak out.

“Speaking up and speaking out is not easy,” Klein said. “Telling our stories of abuse over and over and over again, in graphic detail, is not easy. We’re sacrificing privacy. We’re being judged and scrutinized, and it’s grueling, and it’s painful — but it is time.”

In their group appearance, USA Today says the survivors not only thanked the “Michigan police and prosecutors for helping bring Nassar to justice,” but also “thanked judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who allowed hundreds of women to testify at Nassar’s sentencing.”

It was Raisman, however, who concluded the group’s remarks, offering a message to all survivors of abuse.

“To all the survivors out there: Don’t let anyone rewrite your story,” Raisman said, according to USA Today. “Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”

Weinstein accusers tweet reactions to arrest

Last week saw a major milestone in the Time’s Up movement.

According to Glamour, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein “turned himself in for arrest and charges of first- and third-degree rape and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree” after more than 80 women accused him sexual assault, harassment and misconduct.

Charged on allegations from two women specifically and with more potentially on the way, Glamour says the day the news broke of Weinstein’s arrest saw an onslaught of reactions from accusers on Twitter, who used the moment to once again give voice to the issue of sexual misconduct and harassment — and declare justice in their cause.

“It’s been a long time coming and today my fellow victims and I rejoice and pray no one ever underestimates the power of women when we stand together + scream the truth #WeSpoke #MeToo #TimesUp #LockHimUp,” wrote actor and accuser Lauren SivanGlamour reports

Actor Rose McGowan took to Instagram to share a more lengthy message, says Glamour, one that detailed her pursuit of justice against Weinstein and her hope for survivors of similar mistreatment.

“I, and so many of Harvey Weinstein’s survivors, had given up hope that our rapist would be held accountable by law,” she wrote. “Twenty years ago, I swore that I would right this wrong. Today we are one step closer to justice. We were young women who were assaulted by Weinstein and later terrorized by his vast network of complicity. I stand with my fellow survivors. May his arrest give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.”

One tweet from actor Emma de Cauenes, however, neatly summed up the day in only three words:

“Time for justice.”

Models team up to stop sexual harassment in fashion industry

A new program created by a group of 100 models demands respect — literally.

According to Cosmopolitanthe mass of models banded together at the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit in Denmark to announce their new Respect program, which “aims to end sexual harassment in the fashion industry.”

Led by Model Alliance founder Sara ZiffCosmo reports that the program “asks brands, modeling agencies, and media outlets to sign a contract to protect models,” with the idea being that a legally-binding contract will allow models to file formal complaints, protect them from retaliation and secure an independent investigation into their complaints.

“The program establishes an orderly and fair process for addressing charges of abuse. It provides comprehensive training and education to models and all industry participants,” Ziff said in an interview with WWD, according to Cosmo. “This system benefits models, photographers and other service providers, and every company that wants to do the right thing. The only people who don’t benefit are the harassers themselves.”

Among the models who signed an open letter encouraging brands to join the program are Karen Elson, Doutzen Kroes and Milla Jovovich. While this new initiative aims at greater protections for models, it is not the first to take aim at such measures; Cosmo says the Model Alliance partnered last year with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to provide private changing areas for models.

This program, however, seeks to stand on the shoulders of previous work — and Cosmo says Ziff is heartened by what she’s seen so far.

“I think everyone is very aware of the problems in our industry and others and now we finally are able to move towards solutions.”

Watson donates $1.4M to combat sex harassment

Emma Watson is something of a do-gooder: she shops sustainably, she is a proud feminist and is even a UN Women Goodwill ambassador. So as if we all needed another reason to love her and what she stands for, she made it easy and handed us one more.

According to HuffPost, the actor and activist recently donated $1.4 million to the UK Justice and Equality Fund, which aims to create a safe and inclusive environment for all people, following the publication of a “Dear Sisters” open letter. Published in The GuardianHuffPost says the letter was “signed by some 200 women in the British entertainment industry and called on people everywhere to stand in solidarity with Hollywood’s Times Up initiative to fight sexual harassment and inequality. ”

The letter, which served as a “curtain fundraiser for an activist night at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards,” kicked off a similar night of all-black attire and Time’s Up pins similar to what’s been seen in the U.S., says HuffPost.

As for Watson, she explained to The Guardian that the issue of sexual harassment isn’t isolated; rather, it is indicative of a much larger trend.

“It’s easy to dismiss harassment and abuse as being caused by ‘one or two … bad men,’ but the UK statistics point to a much bigger and more structural problem. The issue is systemic.”

It is systemic, indeed — and #TimesUp on perpetuating that system.

Time’s Up hit major milestones in first month

The Time’s Up campaign has achieved quite a bit in its first month in action: from a wide-reaching social media movement to a “black-out” at the Golden Globes to a white-rose moment at the Grammys, Time’s Up is certainly making its presence known in all aspects of pop culture. But now, the movement has reached an important set of milestones in its first month — milestones that will help further its mission in the future.

According to Glamour, at a recent Time’s Up panel in Los Angeles, “Obama administration alum and lawyer Tina Tchen announced that the group had already raised $20 million, from about 20,000 donors across the country.” Additionally, Tchen announced that the campaign has also received 1,000 requests for help, says ELLE, with requests coming from people of all walks of life.

“The need is clearly there, from all industries—farm workers, hotel workers, steel workers,” Tchen said at the panel. “I had a steel worker from Indiana reach out to my office….Time’s Up has spoken to men and women who need help getting safety and equity in the workplace.”

In terms of getting that help to those who need it, Glamour reports that lawyer and one of the founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund Roberta Kaplan said the requests are siphoned through the National Women’s Law Center:

“They have a number of lawyers who volunteer to work on these cases,” she said, “And they’re matching up clients with potential lawyers. Obviously the clients have to decide for themselves whether they want Lawyer A or Lawyer B to represent them.” The calls for help keeping coming in, says Kaplan: “[We’re getting requests] from people similar to some of the ‘me too’ stuff in Hollywood that you’ve heard—maybe not so famous, but people who’ve had bad experiences with someone in the industry—to other industries. I just got an email this morning from a nurse in Louisiana.”

And that $20 million — Kaplan told Glamour that the sum is “not that much,” as it “won’t even meet the current demand” for help. But with the campaign in its infancy and a plan in place to leverage the public platform of Hollywood to gain more traction, the Time’s Up campaign is bound to keep growing.

Just take the Song Suffragettes, for example: formed in 2014 in response a concern that women were being excluded from record labels and radio stations, The Columbian reports that the group of Nashville-based female musicians crafted a song and music video about the movement, with earnings from the song being donated to the Legal Defense Fund.

And Times Up even found a home across the pond, with British natives of Hollywood’s elite — such as Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson and Daisy Ridley — are “in the process of forming their own version of the movement” in Britain, according to Variety, advocating for both equal pay and safer workplaces for women across all industries.

Looks like time has not run out for the Time’s Up movement — and it’s not running out any time soon.

To donate or request help, click here.

NYT creates sexual harassment ad, stirs emotions

Sometimes, a simple advertisement can be as powerful as art, music or movies, and a recent New York Times ad sure moved mountains of emotions in viewers everywhere.

According to HuffPost, the powerhouse newspaper released an advertisement than ran during the recent broadcast of the Golden Globes that “references the newspaper’s bombshell report where several notable women said Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted and harassed them, as well as the #MeToo campaign.”

All set against a stark white background, the simple but powerful ad features all text that begins with the words, “He said.” The next pair of words to pop up on the screen were, “She said.” The pattern continues for a bit until HuffPost says eventually, the words, “She said” take over the screen — or, until the female voice finally has the last word.

With female voices of our day finally being heard and believed, it comes as no surprise that the ad conjured strong emotions in viewers; in fact, HuffPost says tweets began pouring in as the ad aired, with some calling it “powerful” and “perfection.”

While HuffPost says others though the ad was “off” or “tone-deaf,” one thing is certain: the female voice has been unleashed, and it will not be silenced.

Watch the full ad here.

‘Time’s Up’ campaign makes powerful statement

As the clock was approaching midnight on Dec. 31, 2017, it wasn’t only counting down the final moments of the year. It was running out the clock on tolerating sexual harassment and misconduct in our society.

According to Mic, on the first day of 2018, “three hundred well-known actresses and women talent agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives” unveiled their “Time’s Up” campaign, an initiative to not only combat rampant sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry but in workplaces society at large and for those across the socioeconomic spectrum.

An open letter announcing the movement described it this way:

“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly.”

The movement is not fronted by one specific leader, reports Mic, but instead is “being led by a broad coalition of famous Hollywood women,” such as actors America Ferrera, Emma Stone and Kerry Washington, as well as showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Jill Soloway, and will feature “a series of working groups led by women to combat harassment in different areas.”

As for the specifics of the initiative, Mic cites a few of their plans as reported by The New York Times, which includes the following action items:

• A legal defense fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.

• Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.

• A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.

 

Munn motions for end to sexual assault

With sexual misconduct at the fore of public discussion, Olivia Munn is keeping the conversation going with a brand-new essay she penned for Entertainment Weekly.

Following her own tale of being on the receiving end of sexual harassment, Glamour says the actor wrote an essay identifying the ways in which our culture must shift in order to prevent abuses of power and further sexual misconduct, starting by pointing out the root of such actions:

“In our world today—and it’s not just Hollywood, it’s the same for girls and women all over the world who have survived sexual abuse and/or harassment—abusers don’t usually get in trouble unless the victim is broken first, because the violating act alone is not damaging enough to spark society’s outrage. It’s a marathon towards self-destruction in order to gain credibility and a vicious circle of victim-blaming. When people ask how these men in powerful positions were able to hurt so many people for so many years, I look to the people at the top and ask those questions.”

Calling the issue not a women’s issue but “an abuse-of-power issue,” Glamour says Munn offered that nothing in our culture can be changed until we change the core of our institutions that breed sweeping male hegemony.

“…Until we eradicate the diseased roots of our infrastructure and make foundational, systemic changes, nothing will change,” she wrote. “We should create a zero-tolerance policy with actionable consequences for sexual assault and any other forms of abuse. Heads of studios, bosses, and CEOs should enforce equal pay because continuing to pay us less perpetuates a bias that women are inferior.”

Concluding her essay, Glamour says Munn asked that those in positions of power go against the system and work to create an inclusive and safe environment for women to grow, succeed and thrive, because after all, “We’re strong. We’re not afraid to call each other out—and we’re not afraid to call you out anymore either.”

Amen to that!

Read the full essay here.

Apatow gets real on sexual harassment

Sometimes, all it takes is one person to point out the obvious. In this case, that person was Hollywood director Judd Apatow.

According to HuffPost, when Apatow appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” last week, he took a moment to address the reaction to recent Hollywood sexual misconduct scandals, offering that men’s response to such cases shouldn’t hinge on whether or not they know women personally.

“My instinct is always to say the thing they say, ‘Don’t say.’ Which is … it concerns me, as a father of two daughters,” he said. “It concerns me. But you shouldn’t have to have daughters to get that it’s disgusting.”

Putting his remarks into further — and funnier — context, HuffPost says he broke it down this way: “You should be able to say as the owner of a bird, I’m disgusted. Everybody should be disgusted. It’s horrible.”

But Apatow didn’t just make sure that everyone knows that sexual harassment is objectively wrong no matter how many women men may have in their lives; HuffPost says he also gave a bit of advice on how to avoid being a ‘harasser.’

“It’s so easy to not be a sexual harasser…You just literally do nothing. You do nothing.”

Drake demands respect at concert

At a recent concert in Australia, Drake wasted no time stopping his concert in order to defend one of his female fans.

According to Glamour, the woman in the crowd was being “inappropriately touched by a male concertgoer” when the rapper took notice and stopped his show to address the situation.

“If you don’t stop touching girls, I will come out there and fuck you up,” he said, followed by a warning that he’s not “playing.” Glamour says Drake also issued another warning, saying “If you don’t stop putting your hands on girls, I’m gonna come out there and fuck your ass up.”

Caught on Instagram video, Glamour reports that the footage seems to show security going to assist the female fan.