The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Hollywood women launch anti-harassment campaign aimed at helping blue-collar workers, too

Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes and America Ferrera join a group of 300 women in an initiative to battle sexual harassment in the workplace. (Video: Erin Patrick O'Connor, Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)

On Monday, a group of women in the entertainment industry, including A-listers such as Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Natalie Portman, announced an initiative called Time’s Up, which is aimed at combating sexual harassment. But the group is taking pains to ally itself with less-glamorous fields. In an open letter announcing its mission, Time’s Up’s supporters made clear that they weren’t just aiming for better treatment on movie sets, citing support for farmworkers, housekeepers, wait staff and home health aides.

The women said they are hoping to widen the attention being paid to Hollywood’s scourge of sexual harassment and discrimination into a cultural shift. “Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences,” the women wrote in the letter that begins with the greeting “Dear Sisters.”

The group established a legal fund administered by the National Women’s Law Center and led by Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, and noted attorney Roberta Kaplan, who is representing one of the women who have accused producer Brett Ratner of sexual harassment and abuse. As of Monday afternoon, the fund, which will be used to represent women in sexual harassment cases, had raised nearly $14 million toward a $15 million goal on its GoFundMe page.

Donations and online support from A-listers followed.

But Hollywood types were not the only ones to speak out — those tweeting a thumbs-up included former Obama-ites Valerie Jarrett and former national security adviser Susan E. Rice.