#AskMoreofHim: A Group of Hollywood Men Publish Open Letter Calling on Men to Do Better
A group of Hollywood men—actors, writers, producers, and more—have published an open letter declaring that in the fight against systemic sexual misconduct in their industry and beyond, men not only have an important role, but a responsibility. Because while these men say they “are in awe” of those coming forward to share their experiences regarding harassment and abuse, they also recognize that “awe is not enough.”
“As men, we have a special responsibility to prevent abuse from happening in the first place,” the letter reads. “After all, the vast majority of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence is perpetrated by men, whether in Hollywood or not. And in entertainment – like many industries – men continue to hold most of the decision-making power. Therefore, one of the most powerful things that men can and must do is make it clear to other men – including their friends, colleagues, and co-workers – that sexual harassment and abuse are never acceptable. This goes for everything from sexist and degrading comments, right up to domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The letter has over two dozen signatures, including David Schwimmer, David Arquette, Justin Baldoni, and Matt McGory, and more men are encouraged to join their name to the cause, to do more than silently sport a pin. What they’ve written here is a great example of a strong effort for allyship. They’re not attempting to co-opt or overshadow the movements being led by women. But they also seem to be as fed up as the rest of us with seeing so many men tiptoe around the issues, not knowing their place in these times. They have a place. It’s vocal support and a pledge to hold themselves and each other accountable for their role in breaking down the systems that have long allowed men to abuse their power.
They write, “Some may question our motives for signing this statement and we aim to counteract their skepticism by being painfully honest. Men are imperfect. We are imperfect. And many men, including perhaps some of us, may have enabled the bad behavior of others or acted in ways we now regret. Nonetheless, we believe that men must speak out against sexism, even as we engage in our own process of critical self-reflection, personal growth, and accountability.
“So consider this our pledge to support survivors, condemn sexism wherever we see it, and hold ourselves and others accountable. As advocates, actors, writers, producers, and directors, we hope that our actions will inspire other men to join us. Until now, only a small number of them have been actively engaged in this effort. This must change. It’s time we #AskMoreOfHim.”
The letter is also signed by The Representation Project, the group behind the #AskHerMore campaign, which began a few years ago as a way to call out sexism on the red carpet. While men would generally be asked about their work in interviews, women tended only to be asked about their outfits.
Now, they’re backing the call to #AskMoreofHim, and while this is obviously about much more than one night’s work, it will be interesting to see if that translates directly to interviews on the red carpet at the Oscars this weekend. At the Golden Globes and other awards shows and events, women have started to be asked about the sexual misconduct epidemic in their industry and beyond, but men generally have not. Women absolutely should be given that platform, and be able to speak about these issues first and foremost. But men should not be able to ignore what’s happening around them and in many cases, being perpetrated or at least quietly facilitated by them.
The Representation Project’s website has information for men on how they can be active participants in the fight against systemic sexual harassment and assault. They have a simple list of practical steps men can take to be good allies, as well as film recommendations, reading material, and other resources. For any men not sure of their place in this fight, that’s a great place to start.
(image: Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
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