In the wake of the cascade of sexual assault allegations that have come to light against Harvey Weinstein in late 2017, the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of female farmworkers in the United States, wrote a letter of solidarity to the women who exposed the pattern of violence perpetrated by the film producer and repeated assailant. Spearheaded by prominent women in Hollywood such as Shonda Rhimes and Anne Hathaway, "Time’s Up"—a proclamation against sexual abuse and means of legal defense funding to help survivors of assault hold abusers accountable—was announced in an open letter to the public in The New York Times on January 1. 

Since then, the Time’s Up initiative has raised nearly $19 million to be administered by the National Women’s Law Center, a women’s rights legal organization that seeks to work with the Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity to give a voice to women across all industries facing abuse. However, most individuals probably remember Time’s Up for its initiative at the Golden Globe Awards, which featured actors and actresses wearing black in silent protest against sexual violence. 

Of course, opening spaces for greater discourse on sexism remains a vital aspect of ending the power inequalities and toxic culture that facilitate violence. Of course, the funds raised by Time’s Up will no doubt have a positive impact by serving the pressing financial needs of those affected by sexual violence. However, moments do not create movements. We cannot unequivocally accept any act of social progress without nuance to the structures that reinforce the issues at hand. From Time’s Up to the Women’s March, we must ask, "What's next?" 

Those with the most power and wealth have the greatest ability to utilize their position of privilege to challenge inequalities. Regardless of how “woke” the Time’s Up moment at the Golden Globes may have seemed for its periodic call–outs and tongue–in–cheek condemnations, the reality is much less progressive. 

For the most part, the men in Hollywood did very little besides participate in the surface gesture of wearing black. Though symbols of solidarity have some value, they cannot be the only form of active participation within a movement. 

Sure, Justin Timberlake wore all black. He also thinks working with alleged sexual predator Woody Allen on his 2017 film Wonder Wheel  “was a dream come true”

Even more, Gary Oldman, whose ex–wife has spoke of his abusive past, was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Drama. Considering that the patriarchal structure that dehumanizes women and allows for their systemic oppression is upheld by men, shouldn’t have more male actors at the Globes repudiated the toxicity of the film industry? After all, the burden of ending sexual violence should not rest solely on the individuals most susceptible to its effects. 

Although, any individual of any gender who chooses to not work with known assailants and effectively normalize their place in Hollywood bears responsibility for their actions. Greta Gerwig, whose film Lady Bird garnered critical praise at the Globes, didn’t give a definitive answer as to whether or not she regrets working with Woody Allen in Rome With Love. After receiving heavy criticism for her ambivalent response at the Golden Globes, she finally came forward with a statement against Allen. 

What best revealed Time’s Up’s inadequacies in putting forth a tenable movement was the near–silent response by figures in Hollywood to condemn Aziz Ansari for the sexual abuse he inflicted on Grace, an anonymous female photographer from New York who recently went public with her trauma. Where were the bastions of the entertainment industry who, only a week before, stood against abuse at the Golden Globes when countless publications from The Atlantic to The New York Times shifted the responsibility, humiliation, and blame onto a victim of assault?

Where will they be in the future? 

No matter how many public performances of social consciousness are put forth by media figures in Hollywood, such acts mean little if there are no significant changes to the structures that allow assailants to escape consequences. This rampant toxicity and failure to address violence is by no means just an issue in the entertainment industry, but in all facets of life. Until there is a real movement that confronts and combats the intersections that allow for sexual violence to continue, time will never be up. 


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