In a swift bitchslap executed by karma herself, the vast majority of Time’s Up remaining staff were given their walking papers this past Friday. In a virtual meeting conducted by the organization’s leaders, the call began with an announcement that the layoffs were first announced to the Washington Post, and that the news would later be breaking – 15 minutes later. The meeting concluded with board member Ashley Judd breaking down herself in an ocean of tears met with very little empathy from staffers.
“At one point,” a staff member communicated to The Daily Beast, “Judd began to cry, saying she was ‘broken-hearted’ about the news.”
“Mind you, she’s already put out a statement [to the Washington Post] with information that staff didn’t have access to,” she continued. “So keep your fucking crocodile tears.”
The latest staff sweep comes after both CEO Tina Tchen and bosch chair Roberta Kaplan stepped down in August. Upon their removal, hiring consultant Leilani Brown was brought on board to conduct an independent review which revealed “outsized expectations without a stable foundation to grow on.” The report, also released Friday, additionally revealed a loss of trust and lack of discipline within the organizational structure.
The call to remove Tina Tchen this past summer followed the public disclosure of her offering counsel to New York governor Andrew Cuomo in how to respond to the allegations of sexual harassment brought upon him. Initially, Tchen refused to step down, stating that she was “committed to rebuilding trust,” but as the outrage grew, she eventually resigned.
“Most of us weren’t in the leadership team when the Cuomo stuff happened, yet we’re the ones being punished for past actions of the organization,” one anonymous staffer reported to The Daily Beast.
“Yet again, Time’s Up is putting the interests of the organization over its own staff members,” she added. “We’ve obviously become collateral damage in all of this.”
The organization has been in hot water for years, in the midst of one scandal or another. But what good things ever come to those who steal? It should not be forgotten that the Time’s Up movement was inspired by the #metoo movement, founded by Black activist, and sexual assault survivor Tarana Burke. Burke created the movement in 2006 to bring awareness to and empower other Black women survivors.
Actress Alyssa Milano popularized the use of the hashtag while urging her followers to comment “me too” under a 2017 tweet calling for those who have ever been victims of sexual assault to come forward to magnify the issue. She later credited Burke for being the “origin story” behind the movement, but the Hollywood version of the tale had already begun to take shape.
The #metoo founder has spoken out about the hijacking of the movement, telling ‘Small Axe’ director Sir Steve McQueen at a Guardian Live event, “I’ve seen what Hollywood does, I’ve seen what white people do quite frankly, when they get a hold of black work or work by people of colour.”
And while Burke recognizes the overlap between the two movements for the greater good, she is still regretful that one has essentially upstaged the other, leaving the victims she champions forgotten.
Former Time’s Up employees will receive two months severance pay, described by one staffer to The Daily Beast as “a slap in the face.”
Upon being asked what she would say to leadership if given the opportunity, another staff member said: “I would make it very, very clear that they should be ashamed of themselves, that this is an embarrassment and a besmirchment of everything this movement is for. And I would love to know how they can sleep at night keeping their employees in the dark.”