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Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey.  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Times; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font: 20.0px Times; font-kerning: none} span.s2 {font-kerning: none} All catalysts in the startup of the #TIMESUP campaign. Over the course of 2017, more than 40 sexual misconduct scandals against high-profile men have made their way into the public eye. Some – but not all – have been ousted from their companies or resigned themselves amid the allegations. In response to sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, more than 300 powerful women in Hollywood such as Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, and Emma Watson have launched the Time’s Up initiative.#TIMESUP was first introduced into the world on January 1, 2018, when the movement published a letter unveiling the anti-harassment action plan. The letter from the group read: “The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end.” The letter addressed key issues such as workplace harassment, sexual misconduct, and the lack of financial stability – all of which play a significant role in this “impenetrable monopoly.” 

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This initiative came about after there were multiple accusations of various high-profile men in the entertainment industry, with most allegations directed towards Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer and co-founder of the Weinstein Company. Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by 84 women, but still unequivocally denies “any allegations of non-consensual sex,” as said by his spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister. Additionally, actor Ben Affleck has also been accused of harassment, from celebrities such as actress Hilarie Burton, who accused him of groping her breast during a visit to MTV’s “TRL” in 2003. These allegations have also been a part of #MeToo, a movement where victims share their own stories of sexual harassment, which ultimately toppled the careers of prominent men such as Kevin Spacey.

However, among many of these allegations, there has also been backlash from the public. Margaret Atwood, most known for writing ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Alias Grace,” compared the #MeToo movement to the Salem witch trials and the Joseph Stalin’s purges – both of which killed millions. The victims’ accusations and stories deemed “too careless, too fragile” and “too whiny.” Backlashers also suggested that the real danger lies in “privileged” women with an unfathomable wish to ruin men over their “sexual regrets” and not men who do not care about consent. Moreover, Andrew Sullivan – a former editor for ‘The New Republic’ – added his voice to the issue by saying that the movement had “condemned men to social ostracism and career destruction.” 

Despite the backlash from these movements, research and statistics prove that these movements are needed now more than ever. According to the United Nations, only 50 percent of women of working age are in the labour force, compared to 77 percent of men. Additionally, only one in five members of lower or single houses of parliament is a woman, further emphasising the need for change in equal decision-making.

 

During the 75th Golden Globes held on January 7, 2018, celebrities were encouraged to wear black in a show of unity and power, as seen in the picture above. In a powerful speech given by Oprah Winfrey at the award ceremony, the renowned talk show host thanked all the women who shared their stories in the wake of the #MeToo movement and focused on promoting change by breaking the silence and stigma around sexual assault and harassment. Oprah also proclaimed her support for the #TIMESUP campaign, expressing that she hoped that there will be a time where “nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”

Currently, #TIMESUP has already raised more than $16.6 million for a legal defence fund that provides support to women who wish to report assault or harassment but face legal hurdles to do so. By donating to the #TIMESUP Legal Defence Fund, you can also add your name to the Letter of Solidarity.

As 2017 comes to end and 2018 welcomes us with open arms, it is difficult to predict what the next steps will be for this campaign. However, with the support of celebrities and partnerships with leading advocates for equality and safety, it is safe to say that this movement will be around for a while.