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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative

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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative
A combination photo shows some of the actresses who have made allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Listed in alphabetical order, top row from left, Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, Jessica Barth, Cara Delevingne, Romola Garai, Judith Godreche, Heather Graham, Angelina Jolie. VOA

USA, Jan 1, 2018: More than 300 top women in Hollywood — from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Thompson and Cate Blanchett — unveiled an initiative Monday to tackle pervasive sexual harassment in workplaces, calling special attention to their “sisters” in less than glamorous blue-collar jobs.

The initiative, dubbed Time’s Up, caps a year in which the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal touched off a deluge of allegations that brought down powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, prompting companies, government agencies and even the U.S. federal court system to re-examine harassment policies.

But in an open letter printed in The New York Times, the new initiative lends the star power of its A-list members to the cause of women in less prominent fields, urging support and respect for farm workers and others whose humble positions leave them vulnerable and voiceless.

“We fervently urge the media covering the disclosures by people in Hollywood to spend equal time on the myriad experiences of individuals working in less glamorized and valorized trades,” the group says in its full-page ad.

“To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile … we stand with you. We support you.”

$15 million goal

Last month, the head of Ford Motor Company apologized to employees at two factories in Chicago and promised changes, after a scathing expose by the Timesdetailed pervasive harassment and mistreatment of women at the plants dating back to the 1990s. It was one of the first major media investigations into sexual harassment in blue-collar workplaces.

Among the specific steps it announced, Time’s Up has established a legal defense fund that, in just 12 days, has raised $13.4 million toward a $15 million goal aimed at providing legal aid for women and men who were sexually harassed, assaulted or abused in the workplace.

It has vowed to push for legislation to strengthen laws on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The group insists that more women must be brought into positions of power and leadership, while every woman should have equal benefits, opportunities, pay and representation.

As for Hollywood, it wants “swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone.”

And it called on women to wear black at Sunday’s Golden Globes as a statement against gender and racial inequality, and to raise awareness about the group’s efforts.

‘Dear Sisters’ 

The open letter in the Times, which also appears in the Spanish-language La Opinion, opens with the words “Dear Sisters” in large, bold type, and closes with the words “in solidarity,” followed by the names of the 300 women.

Several of Weinstein’s accusers signed the open letter. They include Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, as well as Salma Hayek, whose lengthy account of mistreatment by Weinstein — “my monster,” she called him — was widely circulated on social media after appearing last month in The New York Times.

Weinstein has denied some of the allegations, including Hayek’s assertion that he pressured her to do a nude sex scene in one movie.

Other prominent women lending their names to the Time’s Up cause are actresses Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Amy Schumer, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Keira Knightley, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Susan Sarandon, Uma Thurman and Viola Davis; producer Shonda Rhimes; Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley; feminist activist Gloria Steinem; lawyer and ex-Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and Nike Foundation co-chair Maria Eitel. (VOA)

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Alexandre Aja’s Love for Horror Lead to Great Success

Meet Hollywood's master of blood, gore, kills & chills

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alexander aja
Aja says that he just wants to keep growing, and spread chills and thrills. Pixabay

Alexandre Aja’s love for horror made him dive deep into the genre and create hits like “The Hills Have Eyes”, “Piranha 3D” and “Mirrors”. The filmmaker says he initially thought that he would get over the genre, but is glad that his obsession with the genre is intact. The director says he just wants to keep growing, and spread chills and thrills.

“I have been watching horror movies since I was a young kid. I loved them and I thought that at some point by making them, I will, kind of, get used to them and not be in it anymore, but I am still into it,” Aja told IANS in an exclusive sit-down interview.

“Every week I go and see a new horror movie and enjoy it and love it. I love to be scared. I love to be in the room with the audience. I love to share that feeling. I want to keep growing,” added the director. Aja feels it is a great time for horror as a genre.

“Today, there are so many opportunities. These movies are so successful in theatres and I think it is very important to see them on big screen. It is very important to feel on the big screen,” he pointed out.

horror films
Aja feels it is a great time for horror as a genre. Pixabay

Aja’s cinema is known for blood, gore, wince-worthy kills and for building suspense with music. He got his break in 2003 with “Haute Tension” (“High Tension”) — which turned out to be his ticket to Hollywood, where he made “The Hills Have Eyes”, “Mirrors”, “Piranha 3D” and “Horns”. He will be back with a disaster horror movie “Crawl”. Aja has returned to water to narrate a suspenseful tale of a daughter trying to save her father from an alligator-infested house amid a hurricane.

“Crawl” chronicles the struggle of a swimmer Haley Keller (played by Kaya Scodelario) as she tries to save herself and her father (Barry Pepper) from alligators amidst a Florida hurricane. The horror thriller will open in India on August 23. The movie will be distributed in India by Viacom18 Motion Pictures. It is written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen, and produced by Craig Flores, Sam Raimi and Aja. The story is simple, and that is what drew Aja in.

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“I wanted people to have a wide, scary and intense suspense film experience. I remember when I got the script for the first time, what got me in and made me fall in love with the story was the log line. The simple idea of this young woman who has to go and save her dad during hurricane category five in Florida in a place infested with alligators –That was all I needed,” he said.

After “Crawl”, it is being reported that Aja is prepping to bring an interactive haunted house horror experience to the big screen. The movie will reportedly allow audience members to influence the storyline through an app on their phones. They will be able to decide how the story will go and end. An official confirmation and details about the project is awaited. (IANS)