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Will Smith’s take on issues over men in Hollywood: the dark time

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Will Smith's take on issues over men in Hollywood: the dark time
Will Smith's take on issues over men in Hollywood: the dark time. IANS
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  • Will Smith talks on the issue of men taking place in Hollywood
  • Smith came to India to promote his forthcoming Netflix movie “Bright”
  • David Ayer, the director, talks about the Netflix movie “Bright”

Mumbai, Dec 19, 2017: Be it gender pay gap debate or diversity wave or a string of sexual misconduct cases coming out of Hollywood, showbiz is going through its moment of reckoning. Hollywood actor Will Smith calls it a “cleansing” process, and says the “dark time” will make way for better future with “transition into a new age”.

“I think that we are moving into the digital era. It is demanding a certain amount of authenticity. I think it will push us closer to the truth in very interesting ways,” Smith told IANS here when questioned about the relevance of discussions around the topics.

“I am not sure how it is going to land, but I see this time in the world sort of cleansing,” he added.

At the moment, there are debates around women’s safety in showbiz as some well-known men in power have been accused of using their position to harass people.

From Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck, Brett Ratner, Charlie Sheen, Dustin Hoffman, James Toback to Kevin Spacey, several men from Hollywood have been accused of sexual assault and harassment. The controversy has raised several questions.

Smith, who was in India to promote his forthcoming Netflix movie “Bright”, feels “people are clinging to old ways that are gone”.

“There are ways of being that will never exist anymore. You have seen what is happening in the America’s political system, what is happening in British,” the actor added without naming any political personality or party.

“We are going to see a real cleansing. This is a bit of dark time before the transition into the new age.”

Smith walked into the music industry back in 1980s, and soon made his way into acting and got his major break through “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in 1990. He carved a special place for himself in Hollywood supported with varied projects like “l “Made in America”, “Six Degrees of Separation”, “Bad Boys”, “Independence Day”, “Men in Black”, “Ali”, “Hitch”, “The Pursuit of Happyness”, “Hancock”, “The Karate Kid” and “Collateral Beauty”.

Apart from showbiz, Smith is also known for voicing his political opinions openly.

Asked if he aspires to enter the political world, Smith laughed, and said: “No, there are no political ambitions.”

The Oscar-nominated and Grammy Award winning star came to India along with the team of “Bright” comprising of Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace and director David Ayer on Monday. The film will release on Friday on Netflix.

“Bright” opens a tale of a fantastical world where humans co-exist with mystical creatures likes elves, fairies and orcs. It narrates story of two police officers — human essayed by Smith and an orc played by Edgerton, who get stuck with each other. The film throws light on how they work on their differences using racial undertones and puts spotlight on diversity and class debate.

Talking about the genre, the 49-year-old said: “The hard part about science fiction movie is that half the conversation that you have is difficult. It is sometimes about bizarre nature of things that are going on to just let it be 100 per cent normal and 100 per cent natural.”

Smith also shared that they rode with police in Los Angeles for a few days to get to the character, and learnt some truths about the police world.

“In America, the police are ‘of the people’, so sometimes the police are working in neighbourhoods in which they live,” said Smith, adding that he thinks it is dark right now.

“Technology changed how policing is done in America. I do think it is dark right now but mostly based on change, mostly on the amount of shift that human beings are having made in how we interact one another,” said Smith, who is married to actress Jada Pinkett Smith. (IANS)

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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)