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After playing a part in launching the Time’s Up initiative, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Tracee Ellis Ross and producer Shonda Rhimes reveal in a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey, set to air on CBS Sunday Morning, the impact their campaign has had on the public, their devotion to raising awareness of sexual harassment and what they hope for the post-Weinstein culture.
Earlier this month, 300 prominent women in Hollywood, including Witherspoon, Portman, Rhimes, Ferrera and Ellis Ross, launched the Time’s Up initiative, aimed at fighting systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace. The initiative includes a legal defense fund to aid women dealing with sexual misconduct. Actresses wore black to the Golden Globe Awards to symbolize solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and assault.
In a preview for the upcoming discussion, Winfrey asks Witherspoon about whether revealing that she was sexually assaulted by a director when she was 16 has “led to a greater sense of power and control.”
“Silence helps the tormenter, it doesn’t help the tormented, and neutrality helps the oppressors, not the oppressed,” the actress responds. “There are moments that you have to evaluate whether silence is going to be your only option. And certain times that was our only option. But now is not that time.”
Winfrey asks the powerful Hollywood women, “How do we as a society have a mature, nuanced conversation about how men and women should be relating to each other? Because there’s so many men and women now who are uncomfortable in their workplaces because of all that’s been uncovered and aren’t just really sure how to be. What do we say to them?”
“We’re humans. We’re all humans,” Portman immediately responds. “And I think it’s treating people as fellow humans and — and it’s not because you have a daughter that you respect a woman, it’s not because you have a wife or a sister, it’s because we’re human beings, whether we’re related to a man or not. We deserve the same respect.” During the Golden Globes, while presenting the category for best director, Portman called out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for selecting “all male” nominees in that category.
“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,” Ellis Ross explained of the Time’s Up initiative.
Witherspoon says she and her colleagues are determined to use their public stature for the benefit of women who feel helpless in their struggles. “You know, we have public voices. We have resources. But women who are workers in this country have nothing to gain in certain times by coming forward. But we want to help. It gives me strength to hopefully help other women.”
Rhimes, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and attorney Nina Shaw will also join Winfrey’s discussion. The full discussion is set to air on CBS Sunday Morning.
Watch a preview of the segment below:
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