Like previous speakers before Spencer, she extolled the courage of women who went public with their experiences of sexual harassment at the hands of the producer, notably not using his name.
“This past week, the film industry awakened to a scandal that has rocked us to our core,” she said. “Scores of brave women came forward and recounted stories of sexual harassment perpetrated by a producer who had abused his power for nearly three decade. As a result, women across the world are banding together, leading the charge to ensure that these victims are heard and policies changed. All of the aforementioned incidents demonstrate the transformative power of women and philanthropy.”
The Oscar winner also highlighted the work of the nonprofit City Year, calling education “a key out of poverty.”
Founded in 1988, City Year has dispatched AmeriCorps members to cities across the country, including Los Angeles, to tutor and mentor at-risk youth. Spencer sits on the board of the organization’s L.A. chapter.
City Year is “a force on the front lines of education,” Spencer said in her speech.
She began her speech by drawing attention to the power of community in light of recent national disasters and the Las Vegas mass shooting. “These past few weeks have been unbearably dark,” Spencer said. But there’s a bright spot, she added. “Philanthropic efforts involving millions of people are leading the way in recovery.”
Variety‘s other Power of Women honorees are Michelle Pfeiffer, Priyanka Chopra, Kelly Clarkson, and Patty Jenkins.