After a tumultuous 2017 marked by numerous sexual harassment scandals, a group of prominent women in Hollywood have kicked off the new year by launching a legal defence fund for sexual harassment claims.
The initiative, which was started by four female agents at talent agency CAA (Creative Arts Agency) – Maha Dakhil, Michelle Kydd Lee, Hylda Queally and Christy Haubegger – is called Time’s Up, and it has been supported by over 300 women including Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
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According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the fund has been set up to address “the systemic power imbalances that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential”, and the group will partner with “like-minded organisations to fight for workplaces that are committed to equality and safety, and strive to reach the most dynamic business and creative outcomes possible.”
The fund will be housed at and administered by Los Angeles’ National Women’s Law Centre, and participating lawyers will work with the centre’s legal network for gender equity to enable more individuals to secure legal help for complaints of harassment in the entertainment industry.
Meryl Streep, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are among the founding donors, along with a number of leading talent agencies including CAA, ICM and Paradigm.
The initiative is being supported by the likes of Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Kerry Washington, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Ashley Judd and more.