Local

Two anti-sexual harassment marches hit Hollywood

A woman protests against domestic violence as she joins other women's rights advocates in an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles, California on March 8, 2015.
A woman protests against domestic violence as she joins other women's rights advocates in an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles, California on March 8, 2015.
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

As allegations of sexual assault and impropriety continue to rock the entertainment industry — actors Steven Seagal, Richard Dreyfuss and George Takei have all been accused of sexual misconduct in recent days — a group is planning a demonstration against sexual harassment, for Sunday, Nov. 12 in Hollywood.

Television writer and author Tess Rafferty co-organized the Take Back The Workplace March

Although she was inspired by the women who came forward to accuse movie producer Harvey Weinstein of inappropriate behavior, she says the problem spans many industries.

"There's a real boy's network out there that covers these stories up, whether it's in a comedy club or on a film set or in an office downtown," Rafferty told KPCC.

Rafferty is glad to see more people sharing their stories of harassment because they think they'll be heard. But she believes it's crucial to capitalize on this cultural sea change and use it to improve the work world. 

"More than just shifting people's perceptions and what the norm is, we really also want to find concrete ways to affect change," Rafferty said. "Kathleen Kennedy called for an industry-wide commission about a month ago to be formed. And we want to march to say we’re supporting that. We also want to look to things like legislation changes."

California State Senator Connie Leyva plans to propose a bill that would ban secret settlements in sexual harassment cases. She's scheduled to speak at Sunday's rally.

"This is a real changing and defining moment, I think, in history," Leyva told KPCC. "We see so many coming forward and I applaud them for being so brave because the vicitms, survivors, women are always made to feel that somehow they did something wrong. But I think they are now seeing strength in numbers and that we're all in this together.

#TakeBackTheWorkplace participants will meet at Hollywood and Highland on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Shortly before 11 a.m., they'll march to CNN headquarters at Sunset and Vine, where several people including Leyva, TV reporter Lauren Sivan, who alleged Weinstein exposed himself to her, civil rights attorney Areva Martin and movie producer Cathy Schulman will speak.

That same day, the Me Too Survivors March, billed as a safe space for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, will also take place, at the same time.

#MeToo participants will meet at Hollywood and Highland at 10 a.m. and will march with #TakeBackTheWorkplace to CNN before returning to Hollywood and Highland for a 1 p.m. rally.

Participants include writer and media commentator Jasmyne Cannick, AF3IRM national chairperson Ivy Quicho and Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo campaign a decade before the allegations against Harvey Weinstein became public.