New Hollywood women’s group targets gagging clauses to tackle culture of silence over harassment

A new Hollywood women’s group is to target gagging clauses that stop sexual harassment victims from speaking out after gaining a surge in support from its launch. 

Time’s Up, which formally launched on Monday, will attempt to discourage the use of non-disclosure agreements which legally bind employees in silence. 

The controversial contracts made headlines last year after it emerged employees at Harvey Weinstein’s business were bound by such agreements. 

It comes as more famous women pledged their support to the campaign group in an effort to tackle the problems revealed by the Weinstein scandal. 

Harvey Weinstein, the shamed Hollywood mogulCredit:
Jordan Strauss/Ap

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, wrote to her 41 million Instagram followers: "The clock’s been ticking on the abuse of power. I stand in solidarity with women across every industry to say Time’s Up on abuse, harassment, and assault.”

Other British celebrities including the model Cara Delevingne and the actresses Kate Beckinsale, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Naomie Harris and Karen Gillan expressed support. 

The clock’s been ticking on the abuse of power. I stand in solidarity with women across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, and assault. #TIMESUP on oppression and marginalization. #TIMESUP on misrepresentation and underrepresentation. Sign the solidarity letter and donate to the @TIMESUPNOW Legal Defense Fund: Link in bio.

A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

It also emerged that Taylor Swift, the American singer, donated $100,000 (£74,000) towards the group’s legal fund to help victims of sexual harassment. 

More than 300 Hollywood women had backed the campaign, which placed a full page advert in the New York Times on Monday and made headlines across the world. 

Members of the public responded with a flurry of donations to the group’s legal fund as celebrities across the world urged people to say “time’s up” on harassment. 

Recording artist Taylor Swift, musician Este Haim, actress Jaime King, producer Harvey Weinstein and recording artist Lorde attend The Weinstein Company & Netflix's 2015 Golden Globes After PartyCredit:
Getty/ Jeff Vespa

As well as supporting victims and encouraging gender balance in the industry, the group will attempt to permanently tackle the culture of silence around harassment in Holywood. 

Campaign figures want to discourage film companies from nondisclosure agreements – known as gagging clauses – which bar employees from discussing the inner workings of companies. 

The contracts often remain in place even when someone has left the business and have been accused of helping to keep the lid on abuse scandals in Los Angeles. 

 Cara Delevingne, left, with singer Rita OraCredit:
Getty/Jeff Vespa

Staff at The Weinstein Company, the film studio which Mr Weinstein co-created, wrote a letter demanding their release from nondisclosure agreements after the scandal broke. 

"We ask that the company let us out of our NDAs immediately — and do the same for all former Weinstein Company employees — so we may speak openly, and get to the origins of what happened here, and how," the statement read. 

Mr Weinstein has faced accusations of rape, sexual assault and harassment from dozens of women. His spokesman has repeatedly denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex”.

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