Nearly 200 British stars sign new #TimesUp open letter

Megan Davies
Photo credit: Trisha Leeper/FilmMagic / Steve Granitz/WireImage / Che Rosales/WireImage / Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Ahead of tonight's star-studded BAFTA ceremony, British and Irish stars have come together to put their names to another open letter to speak out about sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse.

Over 190 actors have signed an open letter that sets out demands for change and the desire to make #TimesUp a truly global movement, as well as calling attention to the UK Justice and Equality Fund, a new body that will provide a network of expert advice, support and advocacy organisations across the UK.

"Dear sisters," the letter begins – and you can read it in full in The Observer or right here.

"A little over a month ago Time's Up was launched [...] All over the world, women have been organising, resisting and speaking out – from Ni Nunca Más in Latin America and the #lifeinleggings movement in the Caribbean, to the Balance Ton Porc movement in France and the #EverydaySexism hashtag in the UK. You might have seen #MeToo. You may have said: 'Me too.'

"This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone. This movement is intersectional, with conversations across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power."

The letter continues to say that in the UK the movement is at a "critical juncture" and that the signatories hope to use the BAFTAs as a way to "celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international".

"Perhaps Time's Up seems a million miles away to you – started by a group of women with privilege," it continues. "The truth is, we are all workers, and whether we're in the limelight or in the shadows, our voices matter. With our collective power, we can galvanise others."

The letter also invites readers to donate to the Justice and Equality Fund, which aims to create the "far-reaching personal, social, legal and policy changes that will ensure everyone can feel safe at work, at play and at home".

"Together we can end the culture of harassment, abuse and impunity," the fund's GoFundMe page reads.

Emma Watson has led the support to the new fund with an initial £1 million donation, with The Guardian adding that Tom Hiddleston and other stars have also contributed to the fund too. The Justice and Equality Fund will be overseen and managed by Rosa, the UK's leading women's fund, with grant-making being opened in spring 2018.

"If you have said 'time's up', if the stories you have read in the papers have resonated and distressed you – join us in shifting the dial," the letter concludes. "Let's make 2018 the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse. This is your moment too."

As well as the letter from women in entertainment, which was signed by names including Carey Mulligan, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emilia Clarke, Sienna Miller, Jodie Whittaker and so many more, a second letter that was signed by leading activists in the movement and professional carers was also published.

"As activists, we welcome the call from our entertainment industry sisters to unite to call TIME on harassment and abuse," their letter reads.

"We recognise that every woman, everywhere, who has ever spoken out has been part of creating change, even when she has not been believed. We know that these conversations are not new, and that these stories are not exceptional, but the women in the entertainment industry that have spoken out have helped to push issues such as sexual harassment and rape into the public consciousness in an unprecedented way."

The Justice and Equality Fund went live this morning, and you can donate to it right here.

The 2018 EE BAFTA Film Awards commence on February 18 at the Royal Albert Hall.

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