200 female British stars sign open letter

Female stars call for end to sexual harassment


Nearly 200 female British stars from film, TV and stage have signed an open letter calling for an end to sexual harassment across all industries.

Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson are among the women to sign the letter, published in the Observer.

Emma Watson has given £1m to a new campaign backed by the women – aimed at helping those affected by harassment.

Women attending the Bafta Awards in London on Sunday night say they will wear black on the red carpet.

The move is a show of solidarity with the Hollywood-based movement Time’s Up, launched in the wake of sexual abuse allegations by high-profile actresses against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Watson is one of the first donors to the UK Justice and Equality Fund, which has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a new advice network.

The fund has been set up by the 190 women who have signed the letter, along with a group of 160 people – including academics, activists and charity workers – to help victims “access support and justice”.

Keira Knightley and Tom Hiddleston have each given £10,000.

The letter said the Bafta awards ceremony was a time to “celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international”.

It 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 reads: “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.”

The decision to wear black at the Baftas follows a similar demonstration of support at Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards earlier this year.

Some of Britain’s biggest stars will be joined on the red carpet ahead of the Baftas by activists, including Laura Bates who founded the award-winning Everyday Sexism project.-BBC


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