2018 kicked off with the Time’s Up movement at the Golden Globes in January. Both men and women dressed in all black to symbolize the power and strength of the movement. In addition to the wardrobe, pins were worn, hashtags were used and symbolic photos were taken. However, that’s not enough.
While female powerhouses in the entertainment industry like America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes formed a legal defense fund to aid women who “have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace,” their mission is not only to fight sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, but fight inequality in all industries as well.
Now that we’ve seen powerful women step forward for an action plan, what are the men doing? Without the support of men in the workforce, the entire Time’s Up movement becomes shallow and nothing but a mere blip on the radar.
Here are three steps men can take to support opportunities for women in the entertainment industry and allow females to have the same growth that men have had for decades.
Ryan Murphy put his money where his mouth was long before the Time’s Up era even came into play. He created Half, a foundation that aims to have 50 percent of all the director jobs on his shows filled by women, LGBTQ individuals and people of color. Murphy admitted to The Hollywood Reporter in 2016, “I personally can do better.”
And do better is exactly what Murphy did. As his Half website states, “Less than one year after launching Half, Ryan Murphy Television’s director slate hired 60% women directors and 90% met its women and minority requirement.”
Instead of just talking, Murphy saw exactly where he could help fill in the gaps in the entertainment industry by tackling his hiring practices on his own shows. It’s something Shonda Rhimes has also done on her show portfolio, but it’s time for other people to step up.
William H. Macy is another great example of a man who doesn’t need a fancy hashtag. When Shameless costar Emmy Rossum was locked in a tough contract negotiation with Warner Bros. TV and Showtime, it was Macy who explained very colorfully that she deserved equal pay.
“They wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1927; it didn’t get passed by both houses of Congress until 1972. It still hasn’t been approved by all the states,” he told TMZ in December 2016. “It’s about fucking time, don’t you think?”
Rossum said Macy’s public and private support meant the world to her.
“As it was happening, I’ll tell you the person who supported me the most was William H. Macy,” she said in a Hollywood Reporter interview. “To have the man counterpart on my show be like, ‘Yes, she does deserve this and more’ was so validating. And after it became public, it was a quick resolution.”
While $500,000 donations from Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Aniston helped seed the initial Time’s Up campaign, it’s almost more meaningful when men contribute to the fund. We are talking about men who contribute money because they really believe in the cause, not actors like Mark Wahlberg who donate their salary after a controversy surrounding a film.
Seth Meyers jumped in with $50,000. Gerard Butler and Edward Norton each gave $10,000 and Aziz Ansari donated $5,000 before his own #MeToo scandal surfaced. If men are willing to come forward and help fund this important movement, it shines through with more authenticity than any Time’s Up button or words in an acceptance speech.
The tide has turned and women are done with making 80 cents to the dollar compared to men — and that is Caucasian women we are talking about. According to the Economic Policy Institute, that number goes down significantly for women of color — black and Hispanic women are paid only 65 cents and 59 cents, respectively.
It’s time for men to make this a team effort to help enforce safe working conditions and ensure equal pay for women. The more they embrace the Time’s Up movement beyond a red carpet fad, the sooner all industries will see progress.