Friday 20 July 2018

Emma Watson makes million pound donation to new fund

More than 200 leading female stars in the entertainment industry have backed an open letter heralding 2018 as a ‘world ripe for change’.

Emma Watson has donated a million pounds (Matt Crossick/PA)
Emma Watson has donated a million pounds (Matt Crossick/PA)

By Kerri-Ann Roper and Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Harry Potter actress Emma Watson has made a £1 million donation to a new fund that will help set up a framework and provide support for those affected by sexual harassment.

Tom Hiddleston and Keira Knightley are among the names listed on the official Go Fund Me page as having each donated £10,000.

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Emma Watson (PA)

Other donations visible are £500 from Emma Thompson, and £1,000 each from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and Noomi Rapace.

The donations follow the publication of an open letter backed by more than 200 leading female stars in the entertainment industry.

The letter, one of two published in Sunday’s The Observer newspaper ahead of Sunday night’s Bafta awards, demands the eradication of sexual harassment from across all industries.

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Helen Bamber Foundation funding

Double Oscar-winner Thompson and Bond star Naomie Harris are among signatories on the open letter standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Time’s Up movement in calling for an end to harassment, abuse, and impunity in a world “ripe for change”.

The stars of film, TV and stage have also joined forces with more than 160 activists, academics and service providers, to launch the Justice and Equality Fund which will aim to resource a network of support and advocacy organisation projects across the UK.

The Go Fund Me page states: “We have created the Justice and Equality Fund, 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”.

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(Rebecca Ladbury PR)

Sunday night’s Bafta film awards will see Britain’s biggest stars joined by activists on the red carpet, while many attendees will wear black in solidarity with Time’s Up – the movement launched following the sexual harassment scandal which engulfed Hollywood after an avalanche of allegations were made against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

The open letter from women in entertainment states: “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 highlights the gender pay gap, the insecurities of the gig economy and freelance work as well as research which found more than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work.

It continues: “In the very near past, we lived in a world where sexual harassment was an uncomfortable joke; an unavoidable awkward part of being a girl or a woman.

“It was certainly not to be discussed, let alone addressed. In 2018, we seem to have woken up in a world ripe for change. If we truly embrace this moment, a line in the sand will turn to stone.”

It says high-profile stars “need to use our power as communicators and connectors to shift the way society sees and treats us”.

“We need to examine the kind of womanhood our industry promotes and sells to the world.”

They call for “collective power” in bringing the Time’s Up movement to workers across all industries “in the limelight or the shadows” to galvanise others and invite supporters to donate to their new fund.

Managed by Rosa, the UK Justice And Equality Fund aims to make workplaces safe for all and ensure anyone subjected to harassment and abuse is able to access support.

They say the Baftas is a time to “celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international”.

Gemma Arterton, Andrea Riseborough, Gemma Chan, and Tessa Thompson are among the stars who will be accompanied at the Baftas by activist guests in a move mirroring the Golden Globes last month.

The guests include Laura Bates who founded the award-winning Everyday Sexism Project, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder of UK Black Pride, and Eileen Pullen and Gwen Davis, two of the “Dagenham Girls” who walked out of a Ford Motor Company plant after learning they were being paid less than their male counterparts in 1968.

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Laura Bates, founder of Everday Sexism Project (PA)

A second letter signed by more than 160 activists, academics and service providers welcomes the involvement of the stars.

It reads: “For each woman in the entertainment industry who has spoken out, there are thousands of women whose stories go unheard…These are not isolated incidents.

“This is about power and inequality; and it is systemic.”

Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/Justice-and-Equality-Fund

Press Association

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