York Dispatch

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More than half of all American working women have been sexually harassed in the workplace, according to a poll by ABC and The Washington Post from October.

Those encounters range from actresses expected to trade sexual favors for key roles in films, to waitresses grabbed by customers and expected to take it, to office workers with bosses who ogle them and make crude jokes.

This letter appeared in The New York Times on Jan. 1, 2018.

The Equal Economic Opportunity Commission estimates that 75 percent of those encounters are not reported. Many women think they will not be believed, that those sorts of encounters are merely part of the job, that they will be fired and their careers ruined if they speak up. 

And to some extent they're right. Of women who have spoken up to say that they have been harassed at work, 75 percent say they have encountered retaliation.

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Since the #MeToo movement went viral in October, more women are speaking out about the harassment they have personally experienced, both in the workplace and in the rest of their lives. 

The entertainment industry in particular has seen many giants fall, from film producer Harvey Weinstein, to "Today" host Matt Lauer, to Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. Every day seems to bring yet another man in Hollywood under fire — hey, look, there goes James Franco.

Tarana Burke, top row from left, Michelle Williams, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, Amy Poehler, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, and bottom row from left, Natalie Portman, Ai-jen Poo, and Saru Jayaraman arrive at the InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes afterparty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

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On Jan. 1, the New York Times printed a letter from 300 actresses expressing gratitude for support from the National Farmworker Women's Alliance as well as support for those women who work in agriculture and face many of the same problems Hollywood has seen but who don't have the finances to fight back against their harassers.

"We also recognize our privilege and the fact that we have access to enormous platforms to amplify our voices," the letter reads. "Both of which have drawn and driven widespread attention to the existence of this problem in our industry that farmworker women and countless individuals employed in other industries have not been afforded."

Then the actresses pledged to use their privilege and finances to help other women. And then they did it.

Tarana Burke, left, and Michelle Williams arrive at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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On Sunday, Jan. 7, the audience at the Golden Globes was a sea of black as the women of Hollywood used their dress choice to show their solidarity with and belief in the victims of sexual harassment and assault. 

On the red carpet, actresses didn't talk about who designed their black gowns.

Debra Messing asked an E! host why the network paid male hosts more than female hosts.

Michelle Williams brought #MeToo founder Tarana Burke to the ceremony and repeatedly stepped aside to let the activist have time to speak on camera.

Laura Dern brought Mónica Ramírez, co-founder of the NFWA.

Emma Watson brought Marai Larasi, chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition.


The message was clear: For those who would prey on women in the workplace and outside the workplace, your era has passed.

Women are joining together, seizing the microphone and camera and speaking out against the oppression they have seen and experienced across many industries. They are gathering forces, including a legal defense fund for women fighting against sexual harassment.

"No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse," says the website formed by the movement whose name was spoken repeatedly on the red carpet and on the stage that night. 

"Time's Up."