This week, 300 Hollywood stars created an organization to help victims of sexual harassment, and Roberts announced a plan to fight the issue in the judicial branch
Time’s up for sexual harassment.
On Monday, 300 heavy-hitting women in Hollywood — including Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, and Shonda Rhimes — joined forces to launch the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. It’s an organization focused on raising money to help victims of workplace sexual harassment afford the legal costs associated with confronting their accusers.
“TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund will provide subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers,” wrote the founders of the campaign on its GoFundMe page. It will also provide victims with access to lawyers and public relations professionals, and will fight for “legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure victims to silence victims,” reports the New York Times.
Founded by two female attorneys, Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen (the former was ex-first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff), the campaign credits the #MeToo movement of 2017 for its inspiration. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fund has raised nearly $14 million, just $1 million shy of its $15 million goal.
“Earning a living should not come at the cost of anyone’s safety, dignity, or morale,” Rhimes — the creator of television shows like “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” — said in a statement. “It’s well past time to change the culture of the environment where most of us spend the majority of our day — the workplace.”
This is not the only anti-sexual harassment initiative announced this week. On Sunday, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who also heads the Judicial Conference (a policymaking body for America’s federal courts), said that the judicial branch of government would be undertaking an introspective review to winnow our sexual harassment and defeat it.
“Events in recent months have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, and events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune,” Roberts wrote in his 2017 State of the Judiciary Report. “The judiciary will begin 2018 by undertaking a careful evaluation of whether its standards of conduct and its procedures for investigating and correcting inappropriate behavior are adequate to ensure an exemplary workplace for every judge and every court employee.”
Roberts’ statement refers to the resignation of Judge Alex Kozinski of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, who returned on December 18th due to allegations of improper conduct to ex-law clerks and women in his employ.
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