Emma Watson donates £1m to help fund for sexual harassment victims

Almost 200 women in film have signed a powerful open letter in support of the fund

Roisin O'Connor
Sunday 18 February 2018 09:43 GMT
The Harry Potter star is one of the first donors to the fund, which was set up by the 190 signatories
The Harry Potter star is one of the first donors to the fund, which was set up by the 190 signatories (Getty)

Emma Watson has donated £1m to a new campaign aiming to help those affected by sexual harassment.

The donation from the Harry Potter star to the UK Justice and Equality Fund comes as nearly 200 female British and Irish stars signed an open letter calling for an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Watson is one of the first donors to the fund, which was set up by the 190 women who signed the open letter, along with a group of 160 academics, activists and charity workers.

​Emma Thompson, Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Chan, Keira Knightley and Watson are among the actors to sign the letter, which was published in The Observer.

The letter says Sunday’s Bafta awards ceremony is a time to “celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international”.

“This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone,” it continues. “In the very near past, we lived in a world where sexual harassment was an uncomfortable joke; an unavoidable awkward part of being a girl or a woman.”

It concludes: “If you have said ‘time’s up’, if the stories you have read in the papers have resonated and distressed you – join us in shifting the dial. Let’s make 2018 the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse. This is your moment too.”

Women attending the Bafta Awards in London last night have also said they will wear black on the red carpet, in a show of solidarity with the Hollywood-based Time’s Up movement.

Many are set to attend the ceremony with activists and campaigners rather than their partners. For instance, Gemma Arterton will be joined by former sewing machine operators Eileen Pullen and Gwen Davis, two of the 187 women who staged a three week walk-out from Ford’s Dagenham plant in June 1968 after learning they were to be paid 15 per cent less than their male counterparts.

The Baftas ceremony will be held at London’s Royal Albert Hall and will air from 9pm today on BBC1.

It will also be live-streamed on Facebook for international viewers. The full ceremony will then be available on BBC iPlayer.

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