Hollywood’s “Time’s Up” organization, set up to fight sexual harassment — with Reese Witherspoon, Amy Schumer, Brie Larson and other luminaries on its board — spent the bulk of its donations on executive salaries and only a fraction on legal costs to help victims, public records show.
The organization, which is comprised of the Time’s Up Foundation and Time’s Up Now Inc., raised $3,670,219 in 2018, its founding year, but spent $1,407,032 on salaries and only $312,001 on the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for people who have experienced sexual harassment.
Charity watchdog groups such as Charity Navigator recommend that non-profits spend 75 percent of their revenues on their mission and 25 percent on administration. Time’s Up spent 38 percent on salaries alone.
Time’s Up spent 38 percent of donations on salaries alone
Time’s Up Now, the lobbying arm of the organization, also spent $157,155 on conferences “designed to build community and spark critical conversations about gender equity,” tax filings show. In June 2018, the group co-sponsored a retreat at the Ojai Valley Inn, a luxury resort and spa north of Los Angeles. The retreat was dominated by agents from the Creative Artists Agency, who apparently had difficulty deciding on what the core mission should be.
“They pivoted from ‘Let’s clean up Hollywood’ to ‘We’re going to help all workers,’” said an attendee who did not want to be identified.
According to tax filings, the mission of Time’s Up Now is “to promote safe, fair and dignified work for women of all kinds. We work to make sure that women are free from harassment and other forms of discrimination on the job, have equal opportunity for economic security and can achieve the highest positions of power wherever they work.”
To this end, the group helped set up the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in January 2018, “which supports individuals who’ve experienced sexual harassment or retaliation at work to come forward to seek justice,” according to the group’s web site. The fund helps pay legal fees for “select cases” and is overseen by the Washington DC-based National Women’s Law Center. The defense fund is “completely independent of the Time’s Up Foundation and Time’s Up Now,” the web site says.
In addition to posh conferences, Time’s Up Now spent $288,007 on advertising, and $940,328 on “legal” costs, with the majority of that figure ($719,522) going to Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, a multinational law firm with a powerful lobbying arm on Capitol Hill.
Time’s Up Now also spent $58,395 on travel and $112,435 on Rally, a public relations company, according to tax filings.
The Encino-based organization was founded by lawyers and Hollywood producers and drew on the star-studded backing of Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Chastain, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino in the wake of the 2017 Harvey Weinstein scandal. The movement was born after Winfrey made a passionate speech at the Golden Globes in January 2018: “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But, their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.”
The disgraced former film producer was accused of sexually harassing dozens of women dating back to the late 1970s. Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape earlier this year and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Time’s Up’s “global leadership board” includes Sorvino, who said Weinstein sexually harassed her in a hotel room in 1995, and actress Alyssa Milano, whose viral 2017 tweet urging women to come forward if they had been sexually harassed, helped launch the #MeToo movement, a worldwide social tsunami that saw thousands of women publicize attacks against them.
The Time’s Up movement got off to a bumpy start.
Lisa Borders, the former head of the Women’s National Basketball Association who was hired to head up Time’s Up in 2018, spent only four months there, according to her LinkedIn page. Borders, who raked in $342,308 in salary in 2018, according to federal filings, resigned after her 36-year-old son was accused of sexual misconduct, according to reports.
And earlier this year, some activists blasted the movement for siding too closely with Hollywood elites and not supporting “On the Record,” an HBO Max documentary about sexual abuse allegations against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Winfrey, who had signed on as executive producer of the film, abruptly dropped out, citing “creative differences” and “inconsistencies” in the accounts of the alleged victims.
“Time’s Up does not sign on to promote films or any other specific projects,” said the group’s communications director Amanda Harrington, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The National Women’s Law Center reported that the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund spent $1,747,635 to help “3,000 individuals” in its first six months in 2018, tax filings show. The Time’s Up Foundation pledged $132,575 to that fund while Time’s Up Now earmarked $179,426, tax filings show. The lion’s share of the defense fund money came from outside grants made to the Law Center, federal filings show.
While both groups are non-profit, only donations to the Time’s Up Foundation are eligible for tax deductions, the group’s website says. Typically, politically minded non-profits set up a lobbying arm and a charity in order to raise awareness, influence legislation and also raise cash. Donations to the lobbying arm — Time’s Up Now — are not eligible for tax deductions. Time’s Up Now took in $3,308,568 in 2018, while Time’s Up Foundation raked in $361,651, according to tax filings.
Calls and an email to Time’s Up seeking comment were not returned last week.