The Time's Up initiative against sexual harassment has been a much-publicised project that includes a legal fund to support victims. A huge list of celebrities have donated to the fund.
It sounds like a great cause, but it's important, when dealing with Hollywood, to acknowledge that, in a time when many A-lister actors, directors and producers, not to mention talent agencies, are mired in scandal, it is also a huge PR boost. Yes, it helps victims, and many of the donors seem to genuinely care about the cause, are victims themselves, or are regular people. But it also helps the companies and some of the people complicit in perpetuating sexual harassment in Hollywood in the first place to look like heroes with a conscience - and all for a modest amount (to them).
The Time's Up manifesto says that harassment often persists because perpetrators and employers never face consequences. But are these donors really committed to making abusers face consequences? Let's take a closer look.
According to Variety, Time's Up was started by four CAA agents, then quickly expanded to include agents from WME, UTA and ICM. These companies make up 4 of the 6 biggest donors to date.
(That's Bryan Lourd on the left)
CAA (donated $2,000,000)
The New York Times reported that at CAA at least eight talent agents were told that Harvey Weinstein had harassed or menaced female clients, but agents there continued to arrange private meetings. They represented Gwyneth Paltrow and were the ones who arranged for her to have a private hotel meeting with the producer, according to her.
Ronan Farrow was a client of CAA. When Weinstein found out about the piece Ronan was writing, he went to the office of Bryan Lourd, one of the partners at CAA, to complain about it. Lourd tried to get Ronan Farrow to meet with Weinstein at the producer's request. Ronan left the agency once he found out that Lourd was trying to coordinate a meeting between the two.
In 2005, Courtney Love gave an interview on a red carpet where she warned actresses: "If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a party in his Four Seasons hotel room, don't go". She claims she was banned from CAA for speaking out against him.
Cade Hudson, a prominent agent at CAA, is facing accusations (Dec 2017) that he offered an actor sex in exchange for access to directors and a movie star in 2013. The victim said he felt powerless to speak out and feared that doing so would result in professional reprisals as the agent was so well-connected. At the time, Hudson was employed at Full Picture, but a year later he was hired by CAA, where he has served as CAA's public face at red-carpet and charity events. In 2016 TMZ called him "the most popular agent in town"; his birthday parties were a veritable who's who of the LA scene (everyone from Sean Penn, Seth MacFarlane, Joe Jonas, Emma Roberts, Kate Hudson, Paris Hilton, Ryan Phillippe to Cody Simpson and Bella Thorne), and he represents some of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood (incl. Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Meryl Streep, Will Smith, George Clooney, JJ Abrams). There has been no news of him being suspended or fired.
CAA is currently (as of Nov 2017) being sued by an actress, who claimed CAA agent Cameron Mitchell was her agent and that he sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions. She said CAA's human-resources department ignored her report. She sued both Mitchell and the company, who only after the lawsuit parted ways with the agent.
In Sep 2017 CAA fired their head of TV literature, Ryan Ly, after several alleged incidents of sexual harassment. Five assistants accused him of inappropriate behavior, including groping and lewd comments; and although he was fired before the Weinstein scandal, his behavior was not publicized until recently.
CAA represents Johnny Depp (accused of domestic violence), Mel Gibson (accused of domestic violence, plus known antissemite), Oliver Stone (accused of sexual harassment), David O. Russell (accused of harassment and abusive behaviour), Sean Penn (allegedly accused of domestic violence), Logan Paul (of racism and laughing at the corpse of a man who committed suicide fame) and Shia LaBeouf (accused of domestic violence).
In 2016 WME star agent Adam Venit sexually assaulted Terry Crews at a party, in public. At the time, the actor complained to his own WME agent, Brad Slater, but the matter was not taken up further by the agency, who after Crews made his accusation public in Dec 2017, gave Venit a one month unpaid suspension and then duly reinstated him. Crews then ditched WME for UTA.
Adam Venit's client roster at WME includes: Sylvester Stallone (accused of rape), Brett Ratner (accused of assault and sexual harassment), Dustin Hoffman (accused of sexual harassment), Russell Brand (known misogynist).
WME clients include: Christian Bale (known violent behavior, was once arrested accused of domestic violence), Ben Affleck (alleged serial groper, continued to work with Weinstein while knowing he was an abuser), Casey Affleck (alleged sexual harassment), Michael Bay (alleged sexual harassment), Russell Crowe (known violent behavior, vouched for Weinstein's alleged procurer in Italy, same man who allegedly brought Asia Argento to Weinstein's room under false pretenses where she was allegedly raped), Matt Damon (same as Crowe except for the violent behavior), Mark Wahlberg (racist, convicted of a hate crime).
Rose McGowan called out UTA on twitter, accusing them of sending unsuspecting women to meet with Harvey Weinstein.
Clients include Murray Miller (the Girl's writter accused of rape) and Chris Brown (known for domestic violence incidents). Former clients: Danny Masterson (has been accused of rape several times and has NOW been dropped by the agency), Johnny Depp (has been accused of domestic violence, he left the agency because he’s broke AF not b/c he beat up Amber Heard), Bill O’Reilly (has been accused of sexual harassment, only fired him after news of a $32 million sexual harassment settlement).
UTA/CAA/ICM/etc- To the agents who sent us to meet a Monster: I hope you enjoyed that 10%, you are guilty of human trafficking #ROSEARMY— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) 16 de outubro de 2017
Also called out by Rose McGowan for sending actresses to private meetings with Harvey Weinstein.
In the Fox News scandal, Tamara Holder, who settled a sexual assault claim with the network in March 2017, says she told her ICM agents Steve Levine, Matt Sorger and Will Horowitz that Francisco Cortes, then vice president of Fox News Latino, tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, and the agents discouraged her from reporting it to Fox. She says they told her her career would be over if she disclosed her abuse to her employer, "slammed the door on her face" when she disregarded this advice, and then intentionally refused to assist her lawyers. OP could not find news of the accused agents being suspended or fired.
In June 2017 ICM fired agent Erik Horine after a company-wide investigation stemming from the Fox scandal. The long-time agent was allegedly involved in multiple sexual harassment incidents. Horine’s pattern of behavior can be dated back to 2009. According to Variety, “Horine’s alleged pattern became so well known that new female recruits in the TV lit department were routinely warned of his behavior by other women in the department”. Several senior agents were aware of Horine’s behavior and female staffers mentioned Horine’s behavior in exit interviews in 2015 and 2016.
TL;DR - "Coincidentally", all 4 of the talent agencies who started Time's Up are mired in sexual misconduct scandals. CAA, the biggest donor and the company that kickstarted it all, seems to be the most egregious offender. Furthermore, at least 3 of the 4 agencies represent men who are well known for violent and abusive behaviour. It's worth remembering that when an agency represents a celebrity, they make a cut out of that celebrity's earnings. They have a stake in cleaning up their reputations and keeping them employed.
Moving on to the celebrities who have donated to the fund.
- The list of celebs who have donated is overwhelmingly female.
- Most of the men who have worked with Roman Polanski, Woody Allen or Nate Parker, like Ewan McGregor, John C Riley, Pierce Brosnan, Timothee Chalamet, Colin Firth, Armie Hammer, etc, have not donated. (But Swiss Chalet and Hammer will be wearing a black tux at a black tie event because they care about sexual harassment so much!)
- We also could not find on the list of donors any of the men who have directly been accused of sexual misconduct, despite many of them claiming to be falsely accused and professing themselves feminists and champions for women.
- And neither did we find the names of Matt Damon, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino and others who have worked extensively with Harvey Weinstein and later claimed to be shocked and appalled about sexual harassment on the media.
- Most of the celebrities donated small amounts. The overwhelming majority donated from $200-$2,000, many donated even less. A good number goes up to $5,000. Fewer people go up to $10,000. From then upwards, it's a very small list.
MERYL STREEP ($500,000) - Meryl is one of 7 donors who donated $500,000 and one of the biggest individual donors. She is currently facing PR problems over her previous recurring working relationship with Harvey Weinstein, whom she called a "god" when accepting an Oscar for a film he produced. While some commentators claim that she had to have known about his abusive behavior (given that some of his victims, like Asia Argento and Léa Seydoux, have affirmed that his harassment of women was public and notorious), we can leave that controversy aside and focus on the fact that she gave Roman Polanski a standing ovation at the Academy Awards, and, when asked at an event about his latest prison stint, she replied that she was "really sorry he was in jail" (for raping a child).
JENNIFER ANISTON ($500,000) - Alleged rapist Terry Richardson was the official photographer at her wedding to Justin Theroux. He's a long time friend of the couple.
NATALIE PORTMAN ($50,000) - Natalie is #21 on the list of highest donors. She signed the petition for Roman Polanski and starred in a short ad called “Greed” for Polanski as well.
CATE BLANCHETT ($50,000) - #22. Worked on “Blue Jasmine” with Woody Allen. Cate said “It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family, and I hope they find some resolution and peace” when asked about Dylan Farrow’s letter. She also stated that she would work with him again.
EMMA STONE ($50,000) - #23. Worked on “Magic in the Moonlight” AND “Irrational Man” with Woody Allen. In both movies she has a much older male love interest. Working with Allen was on the actress’ bucket list: “I can certainly tick [making movies with Allen] off on my bucket list and the experience of working with him couldn’t have gone better”.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE (+ Jessica Biel) ($25,000) - #31 on the list is a joint donation by the couple. Justin just worked on “Wonder Wheel” with Woody Allen (where apparently his character falls in love with his stepdaughter? hmmm sounds familiar). He also worked with Chris Brown.
BLAKE LIVELY ($25,000) - #32 on the list of highest donors. Worked on “Cafe Society” with Woody Allen and when asked about the allegations of child molestation against him, said it’s “very dangerous to factor in things you don’t know anything about.” She said she could only go by her own experience, which is that Allen is “empowering to women.”
SCARLETT JOHANSSON ($20,000) - #39. Scarlett said about Woody Allen "It's not like this is somebody that's been prosecuted and found guilty of something, and you can then go, 'I don't support this lifestyle or whatever.' I mean, it's all guesswork." She added, "It would be ridiculous for me to make any kind of assumption one way or the other." Also complained about how being associated with Allen was messing up her Google alerts: "I think it's irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on. That just feels irresponsible to me." Called Dylan Farrow’s letter “irresponsible”.
ANDY SAMBERG (+Joanna Newsom) ($10,000) - Among the 10k donations (still easily spotted) is a joint donation by the couple. Samberg is a part of The Lonely Island, whose official twitter account supported Murray Miller, the Girl's writer accused of raping Aurora Perrineau. Miller was roomies with Samberg in college and co-wrote Samberg's movies 7 Days in Hell and Tour de Pharmacy. Andy also had convicted rapist Mike Tyson play a role in Tour de Pharmacy.
LAURA PREPON ($5,000) - Is a scientologist. The "church" has been accused of covering up rape and other sexual misconduct by its members, including Danny Masterson's alleged rapes.
AZIZ ANSARI ($5,000) - Aziz refused to speak out against Louis C.K. in an interview with The Daily Beast. Ansari had a plot on “Master of None” regarding sexual harassment (public masturbation, which is one of the things Louis CK was accused of) but when asked about Louis C.K., he refused point blank to speak about it. They share a manager, Dave Becky, who has been accused of silencing CK's victims. Note: AMY POEHLER (donated $10,000) was contacted by The Huffington Post in regards to Louis C.K. and she never responded, she also has not spoken against him either. She praised him in her 2014 book (when the accusations were still rumours) and had him on Parks & Rec. She's also repped by Dave Becky.
REBECCA HALL ($1,000) - Worked on “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” with Woody Allen AND “A Rainy Day in New York”.
JUDE LAW ($500) - A pretty low donation, Jude Law must be saving some money to get new hair plugs. Law is working on the latest Woody Allen film called “A Rainy Day in New York” (where, surprise, his character has a sexual relationship with the character played by Elle Fanning, who's 19 irl).
MICHELLE WILLIAMS ($500) - She was in the Polanski short "Greed" and worked with Casey Affleck on Manchester by the ZZZZ after the allegations of sexual harassment.
LENA DUNHAM ($0) - Remember when she publicly defended Murray Miller and called his accuser a liar? And when she wrote a racist article about Japanese people? And when... ok I'm not gonna list every terrible and cringeworthy thing she's done cause I don't wanna be here all year. A flop as usual, Lena Dunham's name is not even on the donation list. Unless she made an anonymous donation - and when has she ever done anything discreetly when she could get attention instead? And yet there she was, wearing a Time's Up shirt in the Time's Up photoshoot. Literally doing the LEAST.
UPDATE! (9th Jan): After being called out in this post and dragged by Tessa Thompson on insta for just showing up uninvited to the photoshoot above without participating in any of the several meetings which created Time's Up, Lena Dunham donated $15k. Still no apology to Aurora Perrineau for calling her a liar though.
TL;DR - Many of the highest, eye-catching donations by individual celebs were "coincidentally" made by people who have the PR problem of recently working with and/or publicly defending accused or convicted harassers/abusers/rapists.
sources 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
co-written with reluctantlylove
So ONTD, are these companies and celebs on a shameless PR clean-up operation? or do you think they genuinely care about the issue and the victims?