The leaders of the Time’s Up movement are wasting no time.
On Jan. 1, over 300 women in entertainment said “time’s up” on sexual harassment and assault and announced a legal defense fund to support victims of workplace sexual misconduct.
And just over a month later, they’ve already raised $20 million and fielded more than 1,000 requests for legal support, Vulture reported. Approximately 20,000 people have contributed to the fund including influential Hollywood women like Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston.
The funds will help secure and pay for legal representation for women and men seeking justice for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
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“A lot of the big firms that do pro bono work can’t do this work because they have conflicts with [other big clients], so you’ve got small lawyers who can’t afford to do this for free,” Tina Tchen, the lawyer leading the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, said. “The need is clearly there, from all industries—farm workers, hotel workers, steel workers.”
As the wider conversation around sexual harassment has continued since the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal broke last fall, other entertainers have donated to the Time’s Up fund to help tackle incidences of gender inequality and injustice closer to them.
After sexual abuse allegations against director Woody Allen resurfaced, singer and actress Selena Gomez, who starred in his recent film "A Rainy Day in New York," allegedly donated a sum that “far exceeded her salary for the film” to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
When the pay disparity between “All the Money in the World” co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams made headlines — Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to reshoot scenes while Williams was paid just $1,000 — the “Boogie Nights” star announced he would donate the entire sum to the Time’s Up fund.
January 13, 2018
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend also donated $200,000 to the fund in honor of the "heroic gymnasts of the USA gymnastics team," many of whom were abused by team doctor Larry Nassar for years.
But there is still work to be done.
While $20 million certainly sounds like a lot of money, Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer and co-founder of the legal defense fund, said it won’t be enough to cover the legal fees for all the requests the fund will receive.
Read more: Over 300 Women in Entertainment Say ‘Time’s Up’ on Sexual Harassment
Still, given the great success the group has had in raising funds over such a short period of time, the leaders of Time’s Up — both lawyers and members of the entertainment industry — remain optimistic.
The Time’s Up initiative was established in response to an open letter penned by the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas — an organization representing around 700,000 female farmworkers — in November after dozens of Hollywood women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct.
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