Five thought-provoking videos to air for the duration of 2018 in 13,000 NYC Taxis and on NYC Media, the City's official broadcast network, with a reach of over 18 million households
Vignettes featuring prominent actors dramatize real-life scenarios of sexual harassment
NEW YORK – Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin today announced that #ThatsHarassment, the innovative and impactful video campaign conceived by actor and producer David Schwimmer and director Sigal Avin, will run on City-owned media properties Taxi TV and NYC Media for the duration of 2018. This timely and provocative video series will reach a wide, diverse audience of New Yorkers and visitors to the city, promoting crucial conversations around sexual misconduct and gender inequality at a moment when these issues have never been more relevant.
"#ThatsHarassment is a phenomenal opportunity to further the current dialogue about gender-based misconduct, and we are proud to expand the audience of this vital public awareness campaign," said Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "Our office has been hard at work on efforts to level the playing field for women in the entertainment industry for quite some time now, and #ThatsHarassment fits in perfectly with the de Blasio Administration's priorities. I commend David Schwimmer and Sigal Avin for their foresight and drive to bring this program to life."
"My mother, my sister, countless female colleagues and friends have all experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime," said David Schwimmer, creator of #ThatsHarassment. "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."
"Knowledge is key for change. For me, the biggest achievement of '#ThatsHarassment' is giving harassment a face," said Sigal Avin, director of the #ThatsHarassment films. 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."
The #ThatsHarassment campaign was originally created by Schwimmer and Avin as a series of short films in April 2017 – well before the #MeToo revelations and all of the shockwaves that have followed in its wake. Now transformed into 30-second videos, the series will reach a much wider audience across various NYC content platforms. Taxi TV is available on video screens in the city's fleet of 13,000 taxicabs, generating well over 100,000 impressions per day. NYC Media is the City's official broadcast network, reaching over 18 million households in the metropolitan area.
The campaign is made up of five videos. Each dramatizes a different scenario in which sexual harassment can occur, and all of them are based on real accounts – some of which are strikingly similar to ones that have appeared in news headlines in recent months. They include: "The Boss" starring David Schwimmer and Zazie Beetz, "The Coworker" starring Grace Gummer and Joseph Sikora, "The Politician" starring Emmy Rossum and Harry Lennix, "The Actor" starring Noah Emmerich and Cristela Alonzo, and "The Doctor" starring Cynthia Nixon and Michael Kelly.
In tandem with MOME's efforts to broaden the reach of #ThatsHarassment, the Ad Council has launched a national campaign to distribute the PSAs across a variety of broadcast, cable, and digital platforms. The full-length short films and PSAs are currently airing both digitally and on television by major media companies including ABC/Freeform, Amazon, CBS, The CW, Fox, FX, Hulu, Starz and Showtime.
MOME's partnership with the #ThatsHarassment campaign comes at a time when the agency is working hard to lift women's voices. In late 2016, MOME announced a series of groundbreaking initiatives targeting the underrepresentation of women in the film, television, and theater industries. These initiatives, which include a $5 million fund for women filmmakers, mark the first time a municipal entity has taken on gender inequality in these fields.
Other elements of MOME's programs to elevate the role of women in the entertainment industry include a screenwriting competition for stories by, for, or about women; pitch workshops for women filmmakers; a film financing conference connecting women filmmakers with funding for their projects; an inspiring block of programming on NYC Life focused entirely on women and their perspectives; and a report analyzing the gender imbalance of directors in the film industry.
In New York City, victims of sexual harassment at work are protected by the New York City Human Rights Law and can file a discrimination complaint by contacting 311 or the New York City Commission on Human Rights at (718)-722-3131.