The BAFTAs: bringing the times up movement to the UK

An unofficial black dress code took place at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards. Many of the attendees chose to wear black, or a #metoo/Time’s Up badge to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse. The Time’s Up movement is an anti-sexual harassment campaign that was created after the many atrocities of Harvey Weinstein came to light at the end of 2017. The movement provides subsidized legal support to victims of sexual harassment, assault or abuse in the workplace, in any industry.

The BAFTAs was the first time the movement has come to the UK since the campaign started. Celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Julie Walters, and Lupita Nyong’o wore black to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment in order to highlight the inequality and abuse suffered by women across the globe. It is particularly poignant that the movement is now being adopted in the UK as it highlights that it is not just a Hollywood issue, it is an international issue.

Some say the black ribbon tied around the Duchess of Cambridge’s waist was a subtle nod to the campaign but, considering the royal family are not permitted to take part in ‘political activism’, this is perhaps just a coincidence. Best Actress award winner Frances McDormand also chose to not wear black, stating that she has “a little trouble with compliance” but, nevertheless, supports the movement, labelling it a “well organised act of civil disobedience”. Since the BAFTAs, the Time’s Up protest also has taken place at the Brit awards with attendees either wearing black or carrying a white rose to commemorate the campaign.

Sisters Uncut, a British feminist group founded in 2014, stormed the red carpet of the event protesting the upcoming Domestic Violence and Abuse bill. The protestors used the slogan “Time’s Up, Theresa”, while chanting “sisters united will never be defeated”. The proposed bill is attempting to “deliver more convictions” to abusers, however is thought to incriminate abuse survivors while simultaneously distracting the public from the extensive funding cuts to domestic violence services and the government’s clear intent to invest in prisons and policing instead.

Some criticise the Time’s Up movement as hypocritical. Rose McGowan critiqued the movement and deemed the protest “Hollywood fakery”. In response to social media action taken by Justin Timberlake, McGowan said:
“There’s Justin Timberlake hashtagging ‘My wife looks hot tonight’, hashtag ‘Time’s Up’, hashtag ‘I just did a movie with Woody Allen’”.

Despite these criticisms that the movement is a Hollywood trend that breeds superficiality, ultimately, the Time’s Up movement publicly brings attention and awareness to an issue that has been silenced for too long. With celebrities using their platform to spread the word, it provides a voice to those who don’t have the ability to use theirs.

Charlotte Loughlin

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