#MaintenantOnAgit — After #MeToo, France says ′Now we act′ | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 02.03.2018
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#MaintenantOnAgit — After #MeToo, France says 'Now we act'

On Friday evening, France will have its #TimesUp Golden Globes moment. At the César awards, French film stars will step out with a flash of white to help raise money to support victims of sexual assault.

French actor Vanessa Paradis is supporting the Now We Act campaign

French actress Vanessa Paradis is supporting the "Now We Act" campaign

Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman showed their solidarity with the "Times Up” movement against sexual assault by donning black gowns for the Golden Globes film awards ceremony in January. In France, the color of protest is white.

On Friday evening, March 2, 2018, many stars of the French entertainment industry attending the César film awards in Paris will adorn their red-carpet outfits with a simple white ribbon.

'Now we act!'

They will be doing this to raise awareness of the work of the "Fondation des femmes” — a foundation for victims of sexual violence.

With the help of the hashtag #MaintenantOnAgit (Now We Act), the group is asking for donations, hoping to raise over one million euros ($1.23 million) to go towards legal assistance for sexual assault victims. "We've suffered, cried, endured, seen, known, been silenced, testified, joined forces, resisted, told, accused, debated,” a campaign trailer reads, before adding: "Now we act!"

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, the French newspaper Liberation published the group's appeal, along with a photo of some of the 130 artists behind the #MaintenantOnAgit initiative, such as actors Anne-Elisabeth Blateau and Baya Kasmi and singer Lea Castel.

"One in five women suffers harassment in the workplace," Anne-Cecile Mailfert, one of the founders of "Fondation des femmes”, told Liberation. "But in the whole of France, there are only five judges who specialize in this area." The idea behind #MaintenantOnAgit is to give women the courage to report such abuse.

A star-studded campaign

The foundation hopes that the involvement of big names from the French film and entertainment industry will boost donations. The Time's Up Legal Defense Fund in the United States, which is backed by many Hollywood stars, has raised more than $20 million (around 16 million euros).

The Golden Globe Awards 2018 Big Little Lies (picture alliance/Captital Pictures)

Award-winners wearing black at the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony in solidarity with the Times Up movement

Marlene Schiappa, the French Secretary of State responsible for gender equality, tweeted her praise for the more than 130 artists who are supporting the #MaintenantOnAgit initiative. She added: "#TimesUp in France, too!"

In October 2017, Sandra Muller, a French journalist living in New York, started the social media campaign #BalanceTonPorc (snitch on your pig). She encouraged women to use the hashtag to tell their own stories of sexual harassment in the workplace, and even to name names.

Weinstein fallout

Such hashtag campaigns have sprung up in the wake of the scandal surrounding US film director Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by numerous women. French President Emmanuel Macron has announced intentions to strip Weinstein of the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian honor, which was awarded to him by Macron's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Rose McGowan, the US actress who was among the first to accuse Weinstein of abuse, has also shown her support for the #MaintenantOnAgit initiative.

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