Published: 06/01/2018 19:00 - Updated: 05/01/2018 08:38

Karen backs campaign to fight sexual harassment

Written byVal Sweeney


Karen Gillan
Karen Gillan with Mustard Seed staff members Naomi Boyle and Andrew Swindlehurst.

INVERNESS-born actress Karen Gillan has joined hundreds of Hollywood women in support of a campaign aiming to combat systemic sexual harassment in the workplace.

The initiative, called Time’s Up, is being spearheaded by more than 300 actresses, writers and directors including household names such as Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep.

Launched in an open letter published in the New York Times, it comes in the wake of sexual abuse allegations by high-profile actresses against film producer Harvey Weinstein but is described as a "unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere".

Ms Gillan, who sprang to fame as Amy Pond in Doctor Who, took to social media to give her support for the campaign while she was back in the Highland capital over the festive period.

"I stand with women across every industry to say #TIMESUP on abuse, harassment, marginalisation and under-representation. Join me!" stated the actress, who now lives in America.

Ms Gillan urged people to sign the campaign’s statement of solidarity and to donate to a legal fund which will help both female and male victims in less privileged professions to protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the consequences which may arise from reporting it.

The initiative emerged from informal gatherings by women in Los Angeles and New York – as well as London – as the issue of sexual harassment in show business was placed in the spotlight last autumn.

But efforts were broadened out after the organisers received representations on behalf of 700,000 American female farmworkers about their experiences.

The Time’s Up letter empathises with their plight.

"We have similarly suppressed the violence and demeaning harassment for fear that we will be attacked and ruined in the process of speaking," it states.

"We share your feelings of anger and shame."

The campaign goals also include promoting legislation to penalise companies tolerating persistent harassment, and to fight against the use of non-disclosure agreements to shield sexual abusers.

Ms Gillan recently found herself caught up in backlash over her skimpy costume in the adventure film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, ahead of its release just before Christmas. She insisted, however, that the choice of the outfit was deliberate as it made the point her character was uncomfortable wearing it throughout the film.

Ms Gillan, who was a drama student at Eden Court in Inverness, retains her close links with area.

While back home over Christmas, she was spotted dining and enjoying cocktails with a group of local friends at the Mustard Seed restaurant in Fraser Street.

General manager Matthew Bohdaniec said the restaurant was unaware of the celebrity’s visit beforehand as the table was booked in someone else’s name.

"It caused a bit of excitement as we have couple of staff in the restaurant who are Doctor Who fans," he said.

"She was lovely to speak to and was very happy to have her picture taken with staff. We have a lot of personal selfies."

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