Following publication in the Observer of an open letter signed by 190 British and Irish actors demanding an end to tolerance of sexual harassment, violence, abuse and discrimination, both in the entertainment sector and across industry and society as a whole, female stars attending the BAFTAs on 18 February 2018 wore black in a show of solidarity and unity. This sentiment was echoed at the BRIT awards on 21 February 2018 where performers, presenters and attendees carried a single white rose following a similar demonstration at the 2018 Grammy Awards in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement.
Few can have failed to notice the growing strength of the Time’s Up movement, which was started by some 300 female Hollywood actors, executives, writers and directors to counter systemic sexual harassment in the entertainment business in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations which came to light in October 2017.
In the UK, it has been said that more than half of women, and almost two thirds of women aged 18-24, report having been subjected to sexual harassment at work. In addition, it has been reported that the gender pay gap for women in their 20’s is now five times greater than it was six years ago. This, along with Time’s Up, that was initiated by a scandal in the entertainment industry, has allowed a much wider movement supporting equality in all industries and workplaces to quickly gain momentum and has led various activists and actors in the UK to collaborate and form the UK Justice and Equality Fund, a new body intended to provide a network of support and advice in relation to harassment and abuse in the workplace.