×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Women in Film Launching Sexual Harassment Help Line, Legal Aid Service

UPDATED: Citing Hollywood’s growing sexual abuse scandal, Women in Film is starting a sexual harassment help line, launching on Dec. 1, and a pro-bono legal aid service.

The help line — (323) 545-0333 — is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. After-hours calls will be returned during business hours.

Founding partner WME has provided seed funding to build and staff the help line. Women in Film said Friday that its Sexual Harassment Help Line and Pro-Bono legal aid panel will be integrated programs to refer men and women in need of assistance to other survivors, designated mental health counselors, law enforcement professionals, and civil and criminal lawyers and litigators. The help line will also serve as a crisis center and centralized information source.

Bonnie Eskenazi, a partner at Greenberg Glusker, is assembling the panel of attorneys, including employment, labor, contractual, and civil rights professionals.

“This plan provides victims of sexual harassment with certain resources to take actions consistent with their level of comfort, and gives the victim control over how to address the violation and when,” she said. “It also decreases concerns about legal costs.”

Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film said, “Our phones have been ringing off the hook since these harassment stories began to break. We are hearing that victims feel isolated, that there is nowhere safe to go to tell their stories, that they believe they must keep their experiences silent or they will be sued or black-balled and that they feel helpless, fearing the legal costs of trying to do anything about what has happened to them. The Help Line will be staffed by trained experts to address these concerns, and all information will be kept strictly confidential.”

Los Angeles District Attorney Sharon Lacey announced Thursday that she had created a task force of veteran prosecutors to deal with sexual abuse crimes in the entertainment industry.

Showbusiness has been rocked over the past month by multiple accusations of sexual abuse against high-profile figures including Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Louis C.K., and more. The first accusations emerged on Oct. 5 against Weinstein.

WIF president Cathy Schulman said, “I’m sad that we are in a place where the formation of a crisis and relief center for victims of sexual harassment and sex crimes is necessary, but I have no doubt that Women In Film’s deep familiarity with the business and behavior of our community, position as an independent and not-for-profit entity not aligned with any particular studio, agency, or company, institutional knowledge of discrimination and the social science surrounding change models, as well as our deep devotion to our members and friends, will enable the Help Line and legal aid panel to move the national conversation about workplace harassment in a positive and curative direction.”

More Film

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • WGA Writers Contract Talks

    Talent Agents, WGA Achieve Progress in Second Round of Talks

    Hollywood talent agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved some progress at their second negotiating session over agency regulations, according to sources close to the talks. The two sides met Tuesday, two weeks after their first meeting resulted in both sides criticizing each other, followed by the WGA holding a trio of spirited [...]

  • Aaron Paul

    Film News Roundup: Aaron Paul Honored by Sun Valley Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Aaron Paul is honored, Bruce Berman is re-upped at Village Roadshow, and Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher get a book deal. FESTIVAL HONORS The Sun Valley Film Festival has selected Idaho native and three-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul as the winner of its Pioneer Award, presented by Variety for his [...]

  • Olivia Munn]EMILY'S List Pre-Oscars Brunch, Inside,

    Olivia Munn Says Brett Ratner Called Her Before His 'Howard Stern' Apology

    Olivia Munn is setting the record straight about standing up to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner, whom she alleges sexually harassed her over a decade ago. During a panel discussion at the Emily’s List pre-Oscars brunch at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Tuesday morning, Munn revealed that Ratner called her in 2011 after he denied [...]

  • Flesh Out review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Flesh Out'

    Ignore the awful English-language title: “Flesh Out” is an emotionally rich, sensitively made film about a young woman in Mauritania forced to gain weight in order to conform to traditional concepts of well-rounded beauty before her impending marriage. Strikingly registering the sensations of a protagonist living between the dutiful traditions of her class and the [...]

  • Marighella review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Marighella'

    Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content