David Schwimmer made six short films about sexual harassment. We annotate one of them.
The actor worked with the director Sigal Avin to show what sexual harassment looks like. We asked experts to annotate one of the scripts, with ideas on how to prevent it.
They teamed up to make a series of short videos called #ThatsHarassment. Beginning Friday, January 26th, edited versions will be shown on TV and digital outlets including Fox, Showtime, CBS, Hulu and Amazon. On Monday, the 29th, they will begin to be shown in New York City taxis.
We asked five experts in combating harassment — two harassment prevention trainers, a civil rights activist, a lawyer and a professor — to annotate one of the scripts, below, with their advice about what victims and bystanders could do and with context for how harassment happens and the tactics that perpetrators use.
The point of the series is to name unacceptable behavior, offer support for victims and call employers to action, Mr. Schwimmer said. He acts in one of the films, and made the series with Ms. Avin, who wrote and directed the films, and Mazdack Rassi, a founder of Milk Studios.
Ms. Avin came up with the idea for the videos, a version of which she first made in Israel, because she wanted to define and visualize what everyday harassment looks like. It was “taking what some consider a gray area and making it clear: That’s harassment,” she said.
Sigal Avin, writer and director, and the actors David Schwimmer and Zazie Beetz filming “The Boss,” one of the short films in the #ThatsHarassment series. Victoria Stevens
The American version of the series, starring actors like Cynthia Nixon and Bobby Cannavale, was released on Facebook in April. Then, six months later, the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, and Mr. Schwimmer decided the videos needed wider distribution.
Experts say it’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent harassment — not just harassers and victims but also employers and bystanders. Mr. Schwimmer specifically cited men, who he said have not been outspoken enough because of an atmosphere of condemnation for any missteps in talking about it.
“Look, men have a lot to learn, but you’re not going to learn anything without dialogue,” he said. “Men commit the vast majority of rapes, sexual assault and sexual harassment, so men have a special responsibility to do something about it and get involved.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
CLAIRE CAIN MILLER © 2018 The New York Times
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