Hollywood’s women take part in Golden Globes blackout protest

‘We feel emboldened’: Initiative against sexual abuse sees red carpet blanketed in black

Time's Up initiative against sexual abuse sees red carpet blanketed in black at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills. Video: Reuters

 

 The Golden Globes can bring about unexpected fashion choices, thanks to the annuals event's sheer volume and range of the attendees, and as the first official awards ceremony of the year and the first major convention since #MeToo, it is more than fitting that it became a hotbed for fashion activism last night.

In a stark contrast to any previous years where talk centred around who you were wearing, the 2018 Golden Globes conveyed the “why” rather than “who” message. In a co-ordinated blackout protest organised by Time’s Up, all attendees, including Irish actors Saoirse Ronan and Catriona Balfe, observed an all-black dress code last night. 

Imkaan Executive Director Marai Larasi (left) and actor Emma Watson attend the ceremony. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Imkaan Executive Director Marai Larasi (left) and actor Emma Watson attend the ceremony. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Rumours circulated that actors including nominees and presenters where planning to wear black on the Globes red carpet to stand in solidarity in acknowledging the flood of sexual abuse allegations that shook Hollywood. Those rumours where confirmed last week with the launch of Time’s Up sexual harassment prevention plan by prominent Hollywood women including Emma Stone and Reese Witherspoon.

Connie Britton on the red carpet. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Connie Britton on the red carpet. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The initiative’s efforts range from the establishment of a legal fund to fight sexual harassment to the symbolic sartorial statement of wearing black. In a social post on Time’s Up Instagram, it’s quoted as saying: “On Sunday we wear black to stand in solidarity with women and men everywhere who have been silenced by discrimination, harassment, or abuse.” Even in the run-up to the awards, at a string of pre-parties before the night, actresses like Allison Williams, Jessica Chastain and Nicole Kidman stuck to sombre monochrome. And as expected, last night, Hollywood stars showed up and spoke out. Stars showcased a variety of all-black looks including sleek and strapless, sequins and the pantsuit trend. 

Actor Claire Foy attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Actor Claire Foy attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

This isn’t the first time celebrities have used fashion activism as a vessel for airing political messages. Last year, in the wake of US president Donald Trump’s election, dozens of celebrities including Emma Stone and Ruth Negga, accessoried with ACLU ribbons and Planned Parenthood pins at the Emmys and Oscars. But while last year these style choices certainly dominate headlines and garnered plenty of press, such sartorial statements only work in cohesion when involved with loud spoken statements. And the stars on the red carpet did just that - spoke loud and clear.

Will & Grace actress Debra Messing kicked off the talk on the red carpet by criticising E! for paying E! News co-host Catt Sadler less than her male counterpart. “We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity, we want equal pay.”

Tarana Burke (left) and Michelle Williams. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Tarana Burke (left) and Michelle Williams. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Meryl Streep told Ryan Seacrest of E! News that she wore black to stand in solidarity with others trying to right the power imbalance that leads to sexual abuse. “We want to fix that and we feel sort of emboldened in this particular moment to stand together in a thick black line,” she said.

Alison Brie, in her spilt-skirt jumpsuit, explained her sartorial choice by saying: “Tonight is about women wearing the pants so I literally wear pants.” In a further push to highlighting the problems of sexual harassment and gender inequality, actresses even extended their political statements to plus-ones. Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Emma Watson and Michelle Williams were all accompanied by activists in a range of fields, including the founder of #MeToo Tarana Burke. 

This year apart from the all-black dress code and plus-ones, the most talked about accessory on the red carpet was the Time’s Up political pin. Designed by costume designer and stylist Arianne Phillips as tasked by Reese Witherspoon, it was seen on the lapels and dresses of Justin Timberlake, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Joseph Fiennes. The Crown actress Claire Foy went a step further by wearing a pin that read “Actresses Equal Representation” and “50:50” and Connie Britton wore a jumper with the words Poverty is Sexist, a slogan popularised by Bono’s ONE campaign that highlights the issue of poverty and its inequality. 

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