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Larry Wilmore on ‘Doing Better’ With Sexual Harassment: Men Have ‘to Be Woke Allies’

Larry Wilmore, who hosted the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame induction in Los Angeles, Calif. Wednesday, took the opportunity to speak out about sexual harassment in the industry by addressing men directly.

“I want to say, ‘We have to do better, okay? We have to do it yesterday,'” Wilmore said, noting that “doing better” doesn’t just mean waiting for the worst examples to come into the light and to agree that “these monsters are horrible.”

“Doing better requires us to be woke allies. Being a woke allies requires open eyes, active ears, a full heart, and a righteous resistance to a toxic patriarchal murmur that often we, as men, overlook or disregard, because we never get punished by it,” Wilmore said. “You don’t have to have a daughter, or a sister, or a wife to be empathetic to this cause. You can just be a feeling, fucking human being. We’re a group that tells stories – that’s what we do, that’s what we give to the world: our stories. Now, it’s time for us to change our story.”

John Wells, who was one of the event’s honorees, being inducted into the Television Academy after his work on groundbreaking series like “ER,” “The West Wing” and “Shameless” also used the platform to address sexual harassment in the industry.

Wells, who Bradley Whitford told Variety is “extremely fair and extremely kind to everybody up and down the call sheet,” noted the importance of demanding “integrity” in working relationships.

“Sexual and workplace harassment in the industry has been tolerated for much too long,” Wells said in his acceptance speech. “It’s finally coming out from the shadows and into the light. We’re all asking what we can do about it, and it’s simple: it’s long past time for us to all demand integrity in our working relationships, respect and honesty for all of our peers, equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their gender or race, because we’re all in this together.”

Wells also noted that what everybody in that room, all industry insiders, got to do was a “privilege” and because of that “it’s on us to ensure that everyone we work with is valued and safe to pursue their dreams and their ambitions.”

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