On the Golden Globes red carpet, Emma Stone stood alongside Billie Jean King. Stone is nominated for best actress on Sunday night for her portrayal of King in the movie Battle of the Sexes. Both were dressed in black, as is the night’s chosen, though not uncontroversial, uniform of the evening.
The women of Time’s Up, the official Hollywood initiative to combat sexual harassment both within and beyond the entertainment industry, picked the dress code, encouraging men and women to wear black as a symbol of solidarity with those combating sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault.
Stone’s decision to bring King isn’t a wholly unprecedented move; in 2015, the year Reese Witherspoon played Cheryl Strayed in Wild, the film based on Strayed’s book, she took the author as her date. But the buzzword of the night — take a shot every time you hear it! — is solidarity, and Stone’s guest of honor is part of a coalition of women within Time’s Up who decided to bring activists as their dates for this year’s awards.
Stone joins Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, and Shailene Woodley, all of whom told the New York Times in a joint statement:
“We believe we are nearing a tipping point in transforming the culture of violence in the countries where we live and work. It’s a moment to transform both the written and unwritten rules that devalue the lives and experiences of women.”
A number of these activists represent women outside of the entertainment industry, in areas where the type of abuse Time’s Up aims to eradicate is as deeply entrenched as is Hollywood.
Streep, nominated for her portrayal of Katharine Graham in The Post, is bringing Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and organizer of immigrant worker women. Poehler is with Sary Jayaraman, who advocates for restaurant workers; Dern is taking Mónica Ramírez, a Latina empowerment activism who focuses on sexual violence against farmworkers.
Woodley’s date is Suquamish Tribe member Calina Lawrence, who advocates for Native American treaty and water rights. Sarandon, who is nominated for her performance in FEUD: Bette and Joan, is bringing community organizer Rosa Clemente, who, as the Times reports, is “focused on political prisoners, voter engagement and Puerto Rican independence, and who also ran for vice president on the Green Party ticket in 2008.” Watson will attend alongside Marai Larasi, executive director of Imkaan, “a British network of organizations working to end violence against black and minority women.”
Michelle Williams’ plus-one is Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement back in 1997 — two decades before that anthem became a hashtag, popularized by Alyssa Milano, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein investigation — and is senior director of the nonprofit Girls for Gender Equity.
Williams is nominated for her role in All The Money In The World. If that movie sounds familiar, it’s probably because you read about director Ridley Scott replacing supporting cast member Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer after Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of sexually propositioning him when he was 14 years old (Spacey was 26). That was on October 29; within days, over a dozen men came forward to allege similar misconduct, and Scott announced he would reshoot Spacey’s scenes and still release the film in December.
In their joint red carpet interview, King spoke before Stone. “Every generation has to fight for equality and keep fighting for freedom forever,” she said. “So it’s now Emma’s turn to do that. Her generation.” She was wearing black, she said, “to support men and women who have been silenced by sexual harassment and sexual violence.”