Women from service and other industries attend awards show to shed light on systemic sexual abuse in the workplace.
Women’s rights activists and celebrities – dressed in black – took to the Golden Globes red carpet on Sunday night not only to celebrate the last year in film and television, but also to shine light on systemic sexual harassment in the workplace.
It was the first major awards event since allegations emerged last year against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by several women of sexual harassment.
Since then, women and men from the the film, television, media, service and other industries have exposed the level of sexual misconduct within the workplace.
Under the theme “time’s up”, celebrities lined the red carpet in black, and some used their acceptance speeches to comment on the need to confront abuse in the industry.
But the major stars of the night may have been eight activists for gender and racial justice who accompanied celebrities to the event.
“As longtime organisers, activists and advocates for racial and gender justice … we have each dedicated our lives to doing work that supports the least visible, most marginalised women in our diverse contexts,” a statement by the activists said.
“Too much 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 women added.
Among the activists was Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo, which inspired millions of women and men to share their own stories of abuse and harassment online.
Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, also attended, saying on Twitter that she was “proud to be representing over 2.5 million domestic workers … [who] face harassment and abuse behind closed doors”.
Monica Ramirez, who fights sexual harassment and abuse in the agricultural industry, attended on behalf of the 700,000 farmworker women in the US.
“Walking down the red carpet on behalf of my ancestors; my family; the hundreds of thousands of farmworker women in our nation; my community; the many organisers, advocates and lawyers; and all those who paved the way for this movement,” Ramirez said on Twitter.
Also attending the event were Marai Larsi, executive director of Imkaan; Rosa Clemente, a community organiser; Billie Jean King, founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation; Calina Lawrence, a member of the Suquamish Tribe and advocate for Native American treaty and water rights; and Saru Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
The activists joined the stars as part of a wider initiative, dubbed “Time’s up”, aimed at addressing “systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential”.
‘A new day is on the horizon’
Inside the main event, the night took a decisive tone. Many of the winners took jabs at Weinstein, while others called on the world to take steps to end the abuse.
Nicole Kidman, who won Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie for her role as an abuse survivor in HBO’s Big Little Lies, said: “I do believe, and I hope, we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them.”
Reese Witherspoon, who gave the acceptance speech for Big Little Lies’ win of the Best Miniseries or TV Film award, thanked those “who broke their silence this year and spoke up about abuse and harassment”.
“We see you,” she added, “we hear you, and we will tell your stories.”
Many online celebrated the speech of Oprah Winfrey, who accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award.
“I want tonight to express my gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they – like my mother – had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” Winfrey said.
“They’re the women whose names we’ll never know,” she added.
“I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon. And when the new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’, again.”
The Listening Post
Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood and the US media
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