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Dozens of guests gathered at The Riveter, a female-led co-working space, on Thursday night to listen to a panel led by Jessica Barth and featuring Mira Sorvino, Harold Perrineau, Brittany Perrineau, Johnathon Schaech and LA Times reporter Amy Kaufman to unveil a confidential new reporting platform and discuss various aspects of the Time’s Up movement and its efforts to combat sexual harassment and assault within the film industry.
The event was hosted by Voices in Action, an organization created by survivors of sexual abuse, designed to be a safe space for people in the entertainment industry to report when they’ve been abused or harmed by others. The organization honored silence breakers at the launch of the new reporting platform.
It was an emotional evening, as many speakers recounted their own experiences dealing with harassment and abuse in the film industry, and the lack of resources they felt they had to help them, which was a major reason why Voices in Action was created.
Speaking before the panel started, Barth told the audience about what she saw as the larger purpose of Voices in Action and the Time’s Up movement.
“I’m just really overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you and the relationship that we have all created through not a great experience and I’m really proud of everyone in this room for taking their pain and turning it into their passion and really, really executing much needed change,” she said.
Barth went on to introduce a new confidential reporting platform intended to facilitate victims feeling safe to report sexual abuse through a private, online reporting system that alerts victims to repeat abusers.
Sorvino was one of the early voices to speak out against Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment, and as an activist, she has worked hard to pass laws designed to protect victims of sexual abuse, including laws to protect people against retaliation for reporting abuse.
“I was retaliated against and it disrupted my entire career trajectory and to discover that because I had turned down Harvey Weinstein’s direct advances, he blackballed me for over a decade and really did affect my hireability,” she said. “I just did my first studio film in over a decade last year for 20th Century Fox. That was very painful, very difficult and as a mother of four it affected my ability to feed my family.”
Brittany and Harold Perrineau spoke from the perspective of parents after their daughter, Aurora Perrineau, alleged that she had been sexually assaulted when she was 17 by writer Murray Miller.
“One of those things that you don’t hear a lot about when you talk about sexual assault are the ramifications that it has, the ripple effects that it has through our family. She was assaulted when she was 17 and we had no understanding of why our daughter had turned into the person that she turned into. So when we finally found out we had already been fractured,” Harold told the audience. “It further separates you from your family. It’s really tricky but we sort of loved together, stayed together and always worked to make sure our daughter felt good.”
Following the panel, female power pop from Katy Perry and Rihanna played over the speakers, and guests enjoyed refreshments and wine as they gathered together to discuss new strategies to combat sexual harassment and abuse within the entertainment community.
To learn more about the Voice in Action program visit www.voicesinaction.org.
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