Theatre stars among actresses to sign Time’s Up letter demanding change in British entertainment
Actresses Carey Mulligan, Emma Thompson, Ruth Wilson, Noma Dumezweni and Sophie Okonedo are among more than 200 female stars of British entertainment demanding action against sexism, inequality and harassment in the industry.
Ahead of the BAFTAs on February 18, performers, writers and directors put their names to an open letter setting out a commitment to enact change across the entertainment industry and beyond at what is described as a “critical juncture” of the Time’s Up movement.
The letter, published in the Observer, reads: “This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone. This movement is intersectional, with conversations across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power.”
Other actresses to sign include Emma Watson, Denise Gough, Gemma Arterton, Hayley Atwell, Jodie Whittaker, Harriet Walter, Kate Winslet, Olivia Colman, Rebecca Hall and Zawe Ashton, alongside writers such as Abi Morgan and Jessica Swale, Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke and producer Barbara Broccoli.
The letter continues: “Perhaps Time’s Up seems a million miles away to you – started by a group of women with privilege. The truth is, we are all workers, and whether we’re in the limelight or in the shadows, our voices matter.
“In the very near past, we lived in a world where sexual harassment was an uncomfortable joke; an unavoidable, awkward part of being a girl or a woman.
“It was certainly not to be discussed, let alone addressed. In 2018, we seem to have woken up in a world ripe for change. If we truly embrace this moment, a line in the sand will turn to stone.”
More than $21 million (£15 million) has already been raised by Time’s Up movement in the US for a legal defence fund, the letter explains, and calls on for contributions to a new justice and equality fund set up to do the same in the UK.
Watson, who helped set up the fund, has already donated £1 million.
A second letter signed by more than 150 female activists and published alongside the first says: “We recognise that the ways in which women in the entertainment industry have been silenced mirror the ways women are silenced by individual perpetrators, companies, families, institutions, communities and by the state.
“For each woman in the entertainment industry who has spoken out, there are thousands of women whose stories go unheard.”
The letter from women in entertainment in full
A little over a month ago Time’s Up was launched. You might have read a public letter in the New York Times. You may have noticed women wearing black on the red carpet. You might have seen women coming forward to share their stories of harassment. Maybe you identified with some of the stories these women shared.
Maybe you found yourself nodding as you recalled similar moments in your own life.
All over the world, women have been organising, resisting and speaking out – from Ni Nunca Mas in Latin America and the #lifeinleggings movement in the Caribbean, to the Balance Ton Porc movement in France and the #EverydaySexism hashtag in the UK. You might have seen #MeToo. You may have said: “Me too.”
In autumn of last year, when stories came out in the press about sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse in the entertainment industry, 700,000 female farm workers wrote to us to say they stood with us in solidarity. Their letter explained that they knew what we were going through, that they stood shoulder to shoulder with us in our pain and in our belief that a better world was possible. This solidarity between women – activists and survivors – across all industries is what inspired Time’s Up and what continues to galvanise us. This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone. This movement is intersectional, with conversations across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power.
Here in the UK, this movement is at a critical juncture. The gender pay gap for women in their 20s is now five times greater than it was six years ago. Research in the UK has found that more than half of all women said they have experienced sexual harassment at work. A growing reliance on freelance work forces creates power relationships which are conducive to harassment and abuse. Those engaged in insecure contract work are especially vulnerable to exploitation.
While we know women are disproportionately affected by this abuse, we also know there are men in our industry and others that have been subjected to harassment and abuse as part of this system of patriarchal power. And they too have been silenced.
So, what is our industry’s role in promoting a vision of an equal society? We believe it is huge. We believe we need to use our power as communicators and connectors to shift the way society sees and treats us. We need to examine the kind of womanhood our industry promotes and sells to the world.
There is no question that Time’s Up should be and will be a global movement. A movement that is defined and led by those affected by the problem, not by those in power.
As we approach the BAFTAs – our industry’s time for celebration and acknowledgment, we hope we can celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international. Perhaps Time’s Up seems a million miles away to you – started by a group of women with privilege. The truth is, we are all workers, and whether we’re in the limelight or in the shadows, our voices matter. With our collective power, we can galvanize others.
In the very near past, we lived in a world where sexual harassment was an uncomfortable joke; an unavoidable, awkward part of being a girl or a woman. It was certainly not to be discussed, let alone addressed. In 2018, we seem to have woken up in a world ripe for change. If we truly embrace this moment, a line in the sand will turn to stone.
This moment has already raised a staggering $21m for an American Time’s Up legal defence fund. But women all over the world need support and funding in order to be able to fight injustice. The revolution we want and need cannot happen without this resourcing.
So, we invite you to join us in donating to the new UK justice and equality fund, to spread the word to others and be a catalyst for change. Everyone can make a difference by using your platform, your voice and your power as a changemaker.
Finally, we are talking to each other, talking to our employers, our unions, our male allies and challenging our perpetrators and their enablers. Where there was isolation and silence in the film industry there is now connection and voice. Where there was internalisation and self-blame, there is now self-analysis and interrogation. We are connecting and partnering with our fellow workers, women and men, in a truly transformational way. Such unity has been inspirational for all of us. We want you to be part of this.
If you have said “time’s up”, if the stories you have read in the papers have resonated and distressed you – join us in shifting the dial. Let’s make 2018 the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse. This is your moment too.
Abi Morgan, Ade Rawcliffe, Alice Eve, Alison Owen, Amanda Posey, Amber Rose Revah, Amma Asante, Amy Morgan, Andrea Gibb, Andrea Riseborough, Anna Duffield, Anne Morrison, Audrey Gagneux, Barbara Broccoli OBE, Beatie Edney, Brett Tyne, Bryony Hannah, Caitriona Balfe, Camille Gatin, Cara Horgan, Cara McKenzie, Carey Mulligan, Caroline Levy, Chanya Button, Charlotte Colbert, Charlotte Riley, Charlotte Ritchie, Ciara Barry, Claire Foy, Clémence Poésy, Coky Giedroyc, Denise Gough, Edith Bowman, Eleanor Tomlinson, Elhum Shakerifar, Eliza Burrows McGill, Elizabeth Georgiou, Elizabeth Karlsen, Elizabeth McGovern, Ella Purnell, Ella Smith, Emerald Fennell, Emilia Clarke, Emily Berrington, Emily Leo, Emma Pegram, Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Eva Yates, Faye Marsay, Faye Ward, Felicity Jones, Finola Dwyer ONZM, Florence Pugh, Freema Agyeman, Gemma Arterton, Gemma Chan, Gilly Tompkins, Gugu Mbatha-Raw MBE, Gwendoline Christie, Hannah Arterton, Harriet Spencer, Dame Harriet Walter, Hayley Atwell, Hayley Squires, Hope Dickson Leach, Imogen Poots, Isabelle Sieb, Ivana MacKinnon, Ivana Primorac, Jackie Okwera, Jacquie Drewe, Jan Asante, Janette Davidson, Jany Temime, Jaya Campbell, Jenne Casarotto, Jessica Ashworth, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jessica Drake, Jessica Levick, Jessica Malik, Jessica Parker, Jessica Raine, Jessica Swale, Jessie Buckley, Jill McCullough, Jill Taylor, Joanna Natasegara, Jodie Whittaker, Joely Richardson, Jojo Moyes, Josie Rourke, Juliet Nicholson, Kate Hardie, Kate Herron, Kate Kinninmont MBE, Kate Muir, Kate Wilson, Kate Winslet, Katie Leung, Katie Sinclair, Katy McPhee, Keira Knightley, Kim Tserkezie, Kirstie Swain, Kitty Kaletsky, Laura Carmichael, Leanne Davis, Letitia Wright, Libby Durdy, Lily Cole, Lily James, Lindy King, Line Langebek, Liz Gill, Liza Marshall, Lorna Mann, Lucy Bevan, Lucy Fairney, Lydia Wilson, Lyndsey Pugh, Lynsey Muir, Mahalia Belo, Manon Ardisson, Massy Tadjedin, Mia Bays and the board of Bird’s Eye View, Miranda Hart, Nadya Jary, Nana Hughes, Naomi Donne, Naomie Harris, Natasha Dack, Nathalie Emmanuel, Nicky Bentham, Nicola Pearcey, Nicola Walker, Nina Gold, Nira Park, Noma Dumezweni, Noomi Rapace, Olivia Colman, Olivia Poulet, Olivia Williams, Ophelia Lovibond, Pandora Colin, Pearl Mackie, Phoebe Billington, Phoebe Fox, Pippa Beng, Dame Pippa Harris, Polly Kemp, Poppy Delevingne, Rachel Tunnard, Rebecca Hall, Rebecca O’Brien, Rebekah Staton, Rebekah Wray-Rogers, Rebel Wilson, Rosalind Johnson, Rosamund Pike, Rosie Crerar, Rowan Woods, Ruth Greenberg, Ruth Wilson, Saffron Burrows, Sally El Hosaini, Sally Long-Innes, Samantha Barks, Samantha Morton, Saoirse Ronan, Sara Smith, Sarah Brocklehurst, Sarah Gavron, Sarah Jane Wright, Sarah Solemani, Sarah Stephenson, Sheila Atim, Sienna Miller, Sofe Goodwin, Sophie Okonedo OBE, Suzanne Bertish, Sylvia Parker, Tallulah Fairfax, Tamsin Greig, Thandie Newton, Tess Morris, Tessa Ross, Tessa Thompson, Thea Paulett, Thea Sharrock, Tilly Coulson, Tina Gharavi, Tori Parry, Tracey Seaward, Tuppence Middleton, Vanessa Jones, Vanessa Kirby, Vicky Jewson, Vicky McClure, Wendy Wats, Yero Timi-Biu, Zawe Ashton