Following her acclaimed speech at the Golden Globes a week ago, Oprah Winfrey has sat down with some of the prominent Hollywood women behind the Time’s Up initiative as they discussed breaking the silence.
Oprah interviewed leading actresses Reese Withersoon, Natalie Portman, Tracee Ellis Ross and America Ferrera the day after the Globes for a segment that aired on CBS Sunday Morning today.
Producer Shonda Rhimes, entertainment attorney Nina Shaw and Lucas Films President Kathleen Kennedy also weighed in on the movement and the importance of supporting women who don’t have a public platform.
‘We have to maintain the momentum of this conversation, because they can’t,’ Kennedy, who is behind the Star Wars film franchise, said.
‘It’s not only in what we’re doing with a group like Time’s Up, but it’s in the content we’re creating, the conversations we’re having. We have to continue this work because we do have the spotlight.’
Their interview with Oprah came after hundreds of actors wore black at the award ceremony in a high-profile protest of sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood and beyond.
They were among the 300 women to help start the $16 million Time’s Up legal defense fund to help female workers get access to legal representation if they need it.
‘At this moment, it’s a campaign. And we’re all sort of workers among workers and women among women sort of rolling up our sleeves and doing whatever sort of comes to the forefront,’ Ross said of the Time’s Up initiative.
‘There’s a constructive fury that has resulted in a resolute pursuit of equity. This is not just my hurt, this is more than my hurt. This is not just my anger, this is our anger. And instead of it just being a feeling, it’s becoming an action.’
Reese Withersoon, Natalie Portman, Tracee Ellis Ross and America Ferrera joined producer Shonda Rhimes, entertainment lawyer Nina Shaw and Lucas Films President Kathleen Kennedy
Ferrera added: ‘I think a large part of this is not just changing the written rules but the unwritten rules. I think what we are experiencing now is a tectonic shift underneath our feet, where women and men are feeling that we can no longer not say the truth. And when the truth is said, there is maybe a ripple in our culture right now that is going to allow for there to be a change.’
When Oprah asked the women if some had joined the campaign after having personally endured sexual misconduct or assault, both Witherspoon and Ferrera spoke of their experiences.
‘I posted vaguely about an incident of when I was nine years old being assaulted by a man who I was then sort of forced to see afterwards for a long time. And what struck me about my experience was his, his certainty that I would be silent. And he was right. He was right for 24 years,’ Ferrera said.
Witherspoon, who was abused at 16 on her first movie set, added: ‘I have been very open that I was assaulted.’
Oprah briefly mentioned actress Dylan Farrow and the tweets she posted throughout the Golden Globes refering to the abuse she claims she was subjected to allegedly by Woody Allen.
Farrow had tweeted that she thought Allen’s ‘time up’ was four years ago and questioned whether the recent campaign would actually bring about change.
Allen has denied Dylan’s allegations and no charges have ever been filed against him.
‘What would you want to say to (Farrow)?’ Oprah asked.
Kennedy replied: ‘I’d like to believe that time’s up for silence.’
Shaw added: ‘The time’s up for, for disbelief.’
Since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein first surfaced, more than 100 men in Hollywood have been accused of sexual misconduct, rape or assault.
During the interview, Oprah questioned the difference between the various allegations surfacing.
‘There is a difference, but there’s a culture where one part of it supports the other,’ Ross replied. ‘There’s an understanding of consent and respect that I think has gotten very confused in our culture that has set up a space that can make all of that happen.’
Oprah later followed up asking how perpetrators should be appropriately punished, for example should they ever work again in the industry, and if there was room for those men to be forgiven.
‘I think there’s a lot of room for reconciliation. I think there’s a time to approach people and tell the truth and have them listen thoughtfully and meaningfully, and apologize sincerely,’ Witherspoon said.
Rhimes added: ‘At a certain point there has to be room for reconciliation in a world, in a weird way. But a lot of people don’t think that right now – and a lot of women have the right to not feel that right now.’
Ferrera, however, questioned whether it was okay to let perpetrators feel a little uncomfortable about what their consequences would be.
‘Speaking of this moment, as a culture we’ve gone from not listening, hearing or believing women, and how were we going to skip over the whole part where women get to be heard, and go straight to the redemption of the perpetrators?’ she said.
‘Can’t we live in that space where it’s okay for perpetrators to be a little bit uncomfortable with what the consequences will be?’
SOURCE: Daily Mail – Emily Crane