Hollywood women launch initiative to stop sexual harassment

Women in Hollywood band together in anti-harassment initiative

Hollywood's most celebrated women have launched an anti-harassment action plan in an attempt to fight the systemic sexual harassment in the industry, and support women in all workplaces who aren't privileged with the platform to speak out.

The initiative, which is called "Time's Op" was announced on Monday in a full-page advert in the "New York Times".

"If this group of women can't fight for a model for other women who don't have as much power and privilege", Rhimes told the Times, "then who can?"

Ms Longoria told the New York Times: 'For years, we've sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our handsome faces and our glamour.

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.

Women in blue-collar industries who've been exploited can access a $13 million legal defense fund.

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The fund will be housed at and administered by the National Women's Law Center, a women's rights legal organization, and managed by Christina M. Tchen, former Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama. Signatories include actresses America Ferrera, Rashida Jones, Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Jill Soloway.

The group are demanding legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements - such as those allegedly used by Weinstein - to cover up abuse.

The goal is to provide subsidized legal support to those who have faced harassment or assault in the workplace.

Shonda Rhimes-a leading member of the effort and executive producer of several television series, including "Grey's Anatomy" and "How to Get Away With Murder"-says a key component of the effort was making sure that women in those more vulnerable situations and without the name recognition of famous actresses or directors were made central to the effort".

While the group announced itself to the world this week, meetings actually began back in October and have been taking place weekly ever since.

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