Women's Rights Activists to Walk Golden Globes Red Carpet With Actresses

Tarana Burke - Getty - H 2018
Chelsea Guglielmino/FilmMagic

Michelle Williams, Amy Poehler, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Susan Sarandon and more will be accompanied by activists from all sectors, including the mother of the #MeToo movement.

Women’s rights activists will walk the red carpet alongside actresses at the Golden Globes tonight, to help vocalize the message that Time's Up is a campaign for gender equality that reaches beyond Hollywood.

The guests will include #MeToo hashtag creator and civil rights activist Tarana Burke, as well as farm workers, restaurant workers and racial justice leaders including Marai Larasi, Rosa Clemente, Ai-jen Poo, Monica Ramirez, Calina Lawrence and Saru Jayaraman.

Each activist will be paired with an actress, with racial justice advocate Burke (who already achieved a high profile in Hollywood after being tapped as a consultant on the film Selma) walking with Michelle Williams; Larasi, founder of black feminist organization Imkaan, with Emma Watson; Clemente, an organizer, lecturer and journalist, with Susan Sarandon; Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, with Meryl Streep; workers rights advocate and Alianza Nacional de Campesinas co-founder Ramirez with Laura Dern; Native American and human rights activist Lawrence with Shailene Woodley; Billie Jean King with Emma Stone; and Restaurant Opportunities Center United president Jayaraman with Amy Poehler.

“Too much of the recent press attention has been focused on perpetrators and does not adequately address the systematic nature of violence including the importance of race, ethnicity and economic status in sexual violence and other forms of violence against women," the group said in a statement. "Our goal in attending the Golden Globes is to shift the focus back to survivors and on systemic, lasting solutions. Each of us will be highlighting legislative, community-level and interpersonal solutions that contribute to ending violence against women in all our communities. It is our hope that in doing so, we will also help to broaden conversations about the connection to power, privilege and other systemic inequalities."

Reached by phone by The Hollywood Reporter, restaurant industry activist Jayaraman explains, "Tarana has been working with [Time's Up], and encouraged the group to bring in other activists working in other sectors," she says. "I have been working closely with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin on these issues, and they've been advocating that there be connections made between the restaurant industry and Hollywood because one in two American adults have worked in this industry, including many women in Hollywood, and it's the industry that has the highest level of sexual harassment because women can be paid minium wage and told by managers to dress more sexy with more cleavage to get tips."

Jayaraman is president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and ROC Action (based in Oakland, California), and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. She co-founded ROC in New York City after 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, helping to organize those who work in restaurants to launch workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and found cooperatively owned restaurants. She and ROC are currently leading the campaign for One Fair Wage to eliminate the lower wage for tipped workers in the U.S., which is currently $2.13 an hour. 

Jayaraman considers the restaurant industry to be a root cause of the culture of sexual harassment. "A lot of women say they've been sexually harassed but didn't do anything about it because it was never as bad as when they were young women working in restaurants," she says. She hopes that her time in the Golden Globes media spotlight will help the momentum that already has New York Governor Andrew Cuomo moving to change the lower wage for tipped workers law in New York State. "I'm excited to stand with Amy Poehler, who worked in the restaurant industry, and excited to stand with women in other sectors. It's our collective power that will overcome the balance of power." 

Also on Sunday, Time’s Up launched a new Why I Wear Black Today social media campaign with high-profile women including Ava DuVernay, Alyssa Milano and Jennifer Lopez taking to social media to tell their stories of why they are wearing black on Golden Globes day to stand in solidarity with the sexual harassment fight and carry the story of the #MeToo movement forward into 2018.

The Time’s Up sexual harassment prevention initiative launched Jan. 1 by Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone and other prominent Hollywood women includes, among other things, a legal defense fund for victims, legislative initiatives and a request that women wear black to the Golden Globes. The launch was spawned in part by a letter of support Hollywood women received from female farm workers, and the defense fund that has raised $15 million to date is not only for victims of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry, but in all sectors.