Actor David Schwimmer has encouraged more men to join the fight against sexual misconduct because real change can only come from open dialogue.
The former Friends star has been actively trying to raise awareness about the widespread nature of sexual harassment and abuse for some time, and last year (17) teamed up with Israeli-American writer/director Sigal Avin for a series of short films, titled #ThatsHarassment.
The films have since been adapted for a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign, which will run in New York City taxis and outlets like streaming services Hulu and Amazon in a bid to highlight the problem and promote conversations about how to bring an end to inappropriate behavior and gender inequality.
Schwimmer and Avin have also teamed up with officials from the National Women’s Law Center to create a digital guide to help employers tackle the hot topic issues in the workplace.
“Sexual harassment is really about power,” he explained. “And it happens in the workplace between two people where there’s a tremendous imbalance of power.”
The actor, who previously revealed all of the women in his life have been plagued by sexual harassment, also wants to use the revamped #ThatsHarassment initiative to urge more of his fellow males to lend their support to the timely movement.
Schwimmer, who portrays an office boss who takes advantage of a female subordinate in one of the films, accepts it can be tough for some men to properly articulate their views on sexual misconduct, but he hopes the new PSAs will make them realize how important their voices can be in helping to push the issue forward.
“Look, I certainly understand why right now, in the current climate, men are reluctant to come forward and speak, which is a shame because nothing is going to be accomplished without dialogue,” he told breakfast show Megyn Kelly Today. “So part of our goal is to really try to bring men into the conversation.”
Acknowledging how some critics have taken aim at men who have tried to address incidents of sexual harassment and abuse in public, he added, “It’s tough though when if there’s any slight kind of misstep… it’s taken out of context. It’s really unfair to completely condemn someone for trying to articulate how they feel.”
While Schwimmer didn’t name names, show host Megyn Kelly called out Matt Damon as an example of one such instance, after the Oscar winner attempted to argue that inappropriate behavior should be tackled according to its level of severity.
“I think it’s wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories and it’s totally necessary…,” he told ABC News last month (Dec17), “(but) I do believe there’s a spectrum of behavior… There’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated.”
Damon has since apologized for his remarks, which were made as anti-sexual harassment movements like #MeToo and the more recent Time’s Up continued to pick up pace.
– Cover Media0