Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and America Ferrera, among others, have teamed up for a new initiative against systemic sexual harassment in the workplace. Titled Time’s Up, the initiative brings together 300 Hollywood women in the wake of the recent onslaught of sexual assault allegations as they stand in solidarity with sexual harassment victims.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Time’s Up includes a legal defense fund to help blue-collar women arm themselves against sexual misconduct. It also includes support for “50/50 by 2020,” which aims to bring gender parity to the executive suites at Hollywood studios and talent agencies, and supports the recent call for women to wear black to the forthcoming Golden Globe Awards.
“Earning a living should not come at the cost of anyone’s safety, dignity or morale,” Rhimes said in a recent announcement. “Every person should get to work in an environment free from abuse, assault and discrimination. It’s well past time to change the culture of the environment where most of us spend the majority of our day — the workplace. Fifty-one percent of our population is female, over 30 percent of our population is of color. Those are important, vital, economically powerfully voices that need to be heard at every level.”
The announcement comes amid the backlash against Dave Chappelle and a handful of triggering jokes he tells in his latest Netflix standup, Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation. During one joke, he calls Louis C.K. accusers “brittle” and “weak,” including one who alleged C.K. masturbated during a telephone call with her.
“How the hell are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams?” Chappelle asks. “I know Louis is wrong, I’m just saying, I’m held to a higher standard of accountability than these women are.”
While Chappelle is known to shock and stir (he’s previously joked about R. Kelly, Ray Rice, Michael Jackson, Nate Parker and Bill Cosby), his latest standup solidifies the importance of initiatives like Time’s Up.
“Time’s Up is working to make sure the people walking the corridors of power within the workplace and in politics truly reflect the full mix of America — the real America that looks like and includes all of us,” Rhimes continued in the announcement. “Look, this isn’t going to be easy but it is right. And fighting for what is right can seem hard. But letting what is wrong become normal is not easier — it is just more shameful.”