Ad Council Partners with Actor and Producer David Schwimmer and Writer and Director Sigal Avin to Launch ‘#ThatsHarassment’ Campaign
Films and new PSAs will air digitally and on television with support from Amazon Prime Video, CBS, The CW, Fox Networks Group, Freeform, Hulu, SHOWTIME, STARZ and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
NEW YORK, January 22, 2018 – The Ad Council has joined with actor and producer David Schwimmer, writer and director Sigal Avin, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) to launch ‘#ThatsHarassment,’ a national campaign to empower victims and bystanders to speak out and provide tools for employers to create a safe work environment. Beginning Friday, January 26, the full-length short films and PSAs will be supported digitally and on television by major media companies including Amazon Prime Video, CBS, The CW, Fox Networks Group, Freedom, Hulu, SHOWTIME and STARZ.
The PSAs, executive produced by Schwimmer, Avin and Mazdack Rassi of MILK Studios, are shortened versions of the films that first launched in April 2017. The Ad Council will nationally distribute 30-second cutdowns of three of the six originally launched films to media outlets nationwide this week, with 10 and 20-second cutdowns available on Extreme Reach and PSA Central. The films, written and directed by Avin, depict various cases of sexual harassment in the workplace, all based on real events. Schwimmer, Avin and Rassi created this project to highlight behaviors that are unacceptable and to end institutional silence and complicity. Additionally, 30-second versions will air across New York City on Taxi TV and NYC Media.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment, help is available #ThatsHarassment Tweet
“My mother, my sister, countless female colleagues and friends have all experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime,” says Schwimmer. “Now I’m a father of a young daughter and I’m angry and concerned about the rise in, and our culture’s acceptance of, totally unacceptable behavior by men towards women. Men who demean, deride, discredit, harass and assault women – no matter what their position of power – need to be held accountable.”
The films, which take place in various professional settings in which sexual harassment can occur, depict different scenarios where men in positions of power cross the line. They include: “The Boss” starring Zazie Beetz and David Schwimmer, “The Coworker” starring Grace Gummer and Joseph Sikora, “The Politician” starring Harry Lennix and Emmy Rossum, “The Actor” starring Noah Emmerich and Cristela Alonzo, “The Doctor” starring Cynthia Nixon and Michael Kelly and “The Photographer” starring Bobby Cannavale and Anna Van Patten.
“The current conversation around sexual harassment is giving us an opportunity to inform, educate and ultimately end harassment and assault. We are proud to join forces with Sigal, David, RAINN, National Women's Law Center and the media to help all of us—men and women—speak out, stop it and most importantly, prevent it,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council.
“Knowledge is key for change. For me, the biggest achievement of '#ThatsHarassment’ is giving harassment a face. Taking what some consider “a grey area” and making it clear, “that’s harassment.” The fact that there’s a visual aid to clarify and demonstrate what sexual harassment is, will minimize the phenomenon,” Avin added.
The following media companies are providing support for the campaign:
- Amazon Prime Video
- The CW
- Fox Networks Group
Additionally, for the duration of 2018, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will air #ThatsHarassment PSAs on Taxi TV, bringing the campaign to video screens in 13,000 NYC taxicabs and generating well over 100,000 impressions per day. The PSAs will also run on NYC Media, the City’s official broadcast network with a reach of over 18 million households.
“#ThatsHarassment is an incredible opportunity to further the conversation around sexual harassment and gender inequality in our society, and we are proud to expand the audience of this vital public awareness campaign in such a unique way on Taxi TV,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin.
The campaign also encourages employers to use the films for training to proactively address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Separately, in partnership with National Women’s Law Center, Schwimmer and Avin have created a digital toolkit for employers and are inviting them (including C-suite executives, HR directors, supervisors and managers) to use these films to educate, inform and ensure they are creating safe work environments and conditions for their employees. The Digital Toolkit can be downloaded at NWLC.org/ThatsHarassment and includes “10 Ways Your Company Can Help Prevent Harassment in the Workplace” as well as a Discussion Guide for employers to accompany the full-length films.
Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence and abuse; in fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that one in four women face harassment in the workplace, and many are hesitant to report it. Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries, but especially in low-wage service jobs. For example, more than 25 percent of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC in the last decade came from industries with service-sector workers. (Source)
The PSAs drive viewers to RAINN, which is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, and encourage viewers to call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org/ThatsHarassment. RAINN operates the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline, along with a live chat option.
To learn more about the campaign, visit RAINN.org/ThatsHarassment, like the page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thatsharassment/ and follow @ThatsHarassment on Twitter and the hashtag #ThatsHarassment. To get immediate, free support 24/7, call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Milk stands at the crossroads of the fashion, music, photographer and film worlds. A creative, content and media company based out of New York and Los Angeles – Milk spans contemporary culture and is a hub for nurturing creativity and supporting partnerships with some of the industry’s most visionary talent and innovative brands. http://MilkGroup.com/
Dark Harbor Stories
Dark Harbor Stories is a television, theatre and film production company created by David Schwimmer, Tom Hodges, Philip R. Smith and David Catlin which provides financial support and artistic guidance to emerging writers and directors with an eye on socially relevant stories.
Sigal Avin (Segahl) is an American-Israeli writer, playwright and director. In June of 2014 she was featured on Variety’s list of “10 TV Scribes to Watch.”
Sigal created, wrote and directed five short films that show the dynamic behind sexual harassment called “ZeMatrid” (That’sHarassment) in Israel. The project launched on December 26th, 2016 on Facebook and went viral in a couple of hours.
In 2016, Sigal completed the second season of her comedy series called Bilti Hafich (Irreversible) for Israeli television. The first season premiered in January 2013 and was the number one comedy in Israel that year. After airing in Israel, Sigal teamed up with Peter Tolan/Sony TV to develop the show for American television. In April 2014 she wrote and directed the American pilot for ABC network.
In 2007, Sigal created, wrote and directed the dramedy Mythological Ex for the Israeli channel 2 (Keshet). CBS bought the format and the American version entitled The Ex List premiered in 2008.
Sigal's career began in theatre, writing and directing for children in countless stage shows including A New Friend Shmulik (2001), which won Best Show and Best Director in Haifa's International Children's Theatre Festival and How To Make A Boy (1999). Her first show for adults, With A Gun And A Smile, produced at the Yoram Lowenstein Acting Studio, was chosen by the Israeli Culture Department to participate in the prestigious Australian International Playwrights Festival.
In 2002, Sigal created a passion-project entitled Freaks -- a show with no words inspired by the Todd Brownings film of the same name. The show was highly praised and invited to festivals all over the world. From 2005-2007, Sigal was artistic manager and director of the Young Habima Company (Israel's national theatre) where she created Taxi and directed Marivoux's – The Dispute as a modern reality show.
She is the creator and executive producer of three of Israel’s most acclaimed Telenovelas:
Game Of Life (2003), Michaella (2004), and Telenovela Inc. (2005). All of these shows are now airing on Israeli television in syndication.
Sigal is represented by Adam Berkowitz at CAA.
As co-founder and creative director of Milk, Mazdack Rassi has built a hub to nurture creativity at the crossroads of fashion, music, photography and film. Over the last 20 years, Milk has grown into an ecosystem where visionary designers, artists, and brands come to collaborate with the most influential audiences in the world.
A pioneer in his profession, Rassi supports multiple initiatives and charitable organizations. He is an active Board member of Parsons School of Design, as well as Stoked Mentoring, a program to empower underserved youth through sports. Rassi is also a long-standing advocate and advisor for the Global Poverty Project and the Global Citizen Festival.
In addition to his philanthropic efforts, Rassi is devoted to the betterment of New York City. Rassi has demonstrated his commitment to improving commerce and the existing fashion ecosystem alike with his work for NYC 2020, the Meatpacking BID Steering Committee, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Rassi’s leadership and creative vision have garnered him recognition from fellow industry leaders. In January 2015, cultural icon Kanye West presented Rassi with the Daily Front Row’s LA Fashion Awards Innovator of the Year Award.
David Schwimmer is co-founder of the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, where he has acted in and directed many productions including Trust, Our Town, West, The Master and Margarita, The Jungle, Eye of the Beholder, The Odyssey, The Idiot, Of One Blood and his adaptation of Studs Terkel's book Race. He starred in the premieres of D Girl and Turnaround in Los Angeles, Glimmer Brothers in Williamstown, Some Girls in London, the revival of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial on Broadway, and Detroit at Playwrights Horizons. Schwimmer most recently directed Sex with Strangers for the Second Stage Theatre, and is currently directing the world premiere of Plantation! at Lookingglass.
Schwimmer recently produced the U.S. premiere of Beyond Caring at Lookingglass and was nominated for his second Emmy for his role as Robert Kardashian in Ryan Murphy’s anthology miniseries, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, for FX.
Schwimmer's notable television and film credits include The Iceman, Nothing But The Truth, Madagascar I, II, & III, Duane Hopwood, Big Nothing, Band of Brothers, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Six Days Seven Nights, Apt Pupil, Pallbearer and the hit comedy series Friends, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination. His film and television directing includes Friends, Since You've Been Gone, Run Fat Boy Run, the HBO series Little Britain USA, and Trust, starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Viola Davis.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Rape Foundation in Santa Monica, California.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council brings together the most creative minds in advertising and media to address the most worthy causes. Its innovative, pro bono social good campaigns raise awareness. They inspire action. They save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.
SVP, Marketing and Communications