Ahead of UK film awards, stars seek end to sexual harassment

Emma Watson

LONDON - Almost 200 British female entertainment stars called for an international movement to end sexual misconduct across society in a letter published ahead of Monday's British Academy Film Awards.

Kate Winslet, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris, Emma Watson and Gemma Arterton are among those saying that 2018 should be "the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse."

Announcing a fund to support women and men battling workplace abuse - modeled on the "Time's Up" movement in the U. - the stars said "with our collective power, we can galvanize others."

Former "Harry Potter" star Watson has given the fund 1 million pounds ($1.4 million), according to its page on the Go Fund Me website. Keira Knightley and Tom Hiddleston are each listed as having given 10,000 pounds.

Feminist activists and anti-violence campaigners are set to mix with the stars on the red carpet Monday for the awards at London's Royal Albert Hall. Many female guests are expected to wear black, as tremors from abuse revelations rumble through the awards season.

Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse have been leveled at scores of entertainment figures since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

The issue has crossed the Atlantic, where the Old Vic Theatre has been rocked by allegations against former artistic director Kevin Spacey. London police are also investigating nine claims of sexual assault by Weinstein.

In a letter published in The Observer newspaper, 190 female stars called for an end to impunity for abusers and said "this movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone."

"We believe we need to use our power as communicators and connectors to shift the way society sees and treats us," they said. "We need to examine the kind of womanhood our industry promotes and sells to the world."

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge will also be in the audience Monday night - and many people will be watching to see whether Kate joins in wearing black to support the fight against sexual abuse. - AP