After #MeToo, these Hollywood women say 'Time's Up' for workplace harassment.

Hundreds of women in Hollywood rang in 2018 with an important message for workplace harassers everywhere: Time's up.

With full page ads in The New York Times and the Spanish-language La Opinión, some of the most prominent and powerful women in Hollywood announced the creation of a $13 million legal defense fund aimed at helping people of all industries seek justice for workplace harassment.

"We write on behalf of [over 1,000] women who work in film, television and theater," begins the letter, signed by the likes of Ashley Judd, America Ferrera, Rashida Jones, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, and Shonda Rhimes.


The group credits Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (the National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), whose powerful letter of support and solidarity — signed by 700,000 women farmers — with the women of Hollywood helped inspire Time's Up's creation.

The #MeToo movement has been criticized by some working class women for its laser-like focus on high-profile harassers in the entertainment industry. Time's Up hopes to shine a light on how widespread the problem really is.

"We also recognize our privilege and the fact that we have access to enormous platforms to amplify our voices," the letter reads. "Both of which have drawn and driven widespread attention to the existence of this problem in our industry that farmworker women and countless individuals employed in other industries have not been afforded."

"We also want all victims and survivors to be able to access justice and support for the wrongdoing they have endured. We particularly want to lift up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation," the letter continues.

While Time's Up raises money via crowdsourcing site GoFundMe, a number of big names are putting their money where their mouths are.

Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, and Jennifer Aniston each donated $500,000 to the defense fund. Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey chipped in for $100,000 each. Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone, and Jessica Chastain donated $50,000 a piece. Anne Hathaway, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Blake Lively, Scarlett Johansson, Debra Messing, America Ferrera, Chelsea Handler, Eva Longoria, Keira Knightley, Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, Jane Fonda, Megan Mullally, Rashida Jones, Susan Sarandon, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner, Amy Poehler, Kate Hudson, and Julianne Moore all put forward more than $10,000 for the cause.

GoFundMe waived its platform fee for the campaign, and donations are tax-deductible.

Stars took to social media to help spread the word, adding a personal touch to the project.

"Transparent" creator Jill Soloway called the experience of working to help launch Time's Up "beautiful and radical."

Actress Amber Tamblyn saved a number of copies of the Times ad in hopes of inspiring a future generation of badass women.

Larson called out "abuse, harassment, marginalization and underrepresentation" across industries, and Anna Paquin put a special emphasis on the importance of centering marginalized groups. The letter originally omitted any mention of disabled individuals, something Ferrera hoped to remedy in future iterations.

Rhimes, Piper Perabo, and Mira Sorvino all tweeted support and added context.

Ferrera sported a Time's Up t-shirt in one of her tweets, and Messing added that she's "proud to be a member and to stand with [her] sisters."

Time's Up co-founder and former chief of staff to Michelle Obama Tina Tchen weighed in as well.

There's no telling what 2018 has in store for all of us, but the launch of Time's Up is a pretty great way to start.

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Culture

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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