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Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund aims to support women harassed or abused in their careers

Shonda Rhimes and Meryl Streep are among the more than 300 supporters in Hollywood.

Shonda Rhimes is among the more than 300

Shonda Rhimes is among the more than 300 Hollywood stars behind the new Time's Up Legal Defense Fund for women who have experienced sexual harrassment or assault in professional pursuits. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Essence / Earl Gibson III

A group of female Hollywood powerhouses launched a public campaign to battle sexual harassment for all women — not just those in the entertainment industry.

Time’s Up, backed by Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman and about 300 other stars of stage and screen, ran an advertisement in the New York Times and La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper, to launch the campaign and shine a light on women who have suffered sexual abuse in less glamorous fields.

Efforts to fight sexual harassment were energized in recent months after it was revealed that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had allegedly been intimidating, harassing and abusing women for decades.

The lengthy letter acknowledges that women in Hollywood have access to “enormous platforms” to spread their stories of abuse and that farmworkers, janitors, housekeepers, waitresses deserve the same attention.

“Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences, “ the letter reads. “This is often because survivors, particularly those working in low-wage industries, don’t have the resources to fight back.”

The group launched the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund that will assist both men and women who have “experienced sexual harassment, assault or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers.”

Several supporters including Rhimes, Witherspoon and Tracee Ellis Ross took to Twitter on Monday to share the Time’s Up announcement, and to ask people to sign the solidarity letter and donate to the legal defense fund.

Last month, stars including Longoria said they would wear black to the upcoming Golden Globe awards to show solidarity.

“For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” Longoria said in the Times. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

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