Announced just 36 days ago in response to a spate of workplace sexual harassment and abuse allegations across many industries, the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund has already collected $20 million in donations. Attorney Tina Tchen, who leads the fund with colleague Nina L. Shaw, shared the statistic at an Ava DuVernay-moderated Time’s Up panel that took place on February 5, during a three-day Los Angeles conference hosted by feminist media brand Makers.
“We’ve received donations from $5 to millions of dollars,” said Tchen, who served as both an assistant to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff. “It’s been an amazing outpouring of support. We have over 1,000 requests for help in one month.”
Twenty thousand donors have contributed to the fund so far, Tchen said. According to People, those who’ve gifted six figures or more include Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, and J.J. Abrams and wife Katie McGrath, Tchen’s fellow panelist.
Onstage, they helped assemble what “A Wrinkle in Time” director DuVernay designated, “basically ‘The Avengers’ in real life!” a group that also included Shaw, CAA agent Maha Dakhil, director Melina Matsoukas, Jill Soloway, Rashida Jones, and last week’s “Saturday Night Live” host, Natalie Portman. At the end of her episode’s most popular sketch, when asked whether the Time’s Up pins that celebrities have worn during award season have had any impact, Portman retaliated by sinking on into the interviewer’s forehead, demanding, “How’s that for impact?,” and hurling him through a window.
Each panelists was one of the 300-plus women in the entertainment industry who signed the open New York Times letter which officially kicked off the fund on January 1. Dakhil disclosed that the groundwork for the initiative first began with the election of President Trump in late 2016. Makers Conference will wrap up tomorrow following a satellite address from Hillary Clinton.
Watch the Time’s Up panel below in full.