The Time’s Up Anti Harassment PSA is here to give all those people wondering what’s deemed acceptable behaviour at work, a pretty hefty hint.
You might know Rashida Jones from her acting work in cult TV shows such as Parks and Recreation and The Office, a string of Hollywood block busters like I Love You, Man or The Social Network, or perhaps just recognise her signature look of quirky fringe and exuberant smile from the red carpet.
But as well as being a talented face on the Hollywood scene, Jones has been a big part of the Time’s Up movement since its inception. In fact, she was one of the first people who were involved in setting up the idea to create a fund that would support victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Since the unraveling of Harvey Weinstein and the outpouring of allegations from women he’s interacted with, the Time’s Up movement has only grown in power and influence, becoming a staple in the lexicon of pretty much anyone who uses the internet and encouraging many more victims of sexual assault to come forward.
Bringing these issues to light and holding perpetrators to account has sparked conversations like #MeToo, which although have origins in Hollywood, have trickled down to the lives and workplaces of women everywhere. With more women speaking out about situations where they have been made to feel uncomfortable or have been harassed or assaulted particularly at work, some people have claimed to lose track of what is now an acceptable way to treat a co-worker (or woman, for that matter).
You could, and we will, argue that a lot of this comes down to common sense. For example, don’t grope a co-worker. Or, don’t ask a co-worker who hasn’t alluded to finding you attractive out for a date, especially if you know you hold a position of power in the work place. If a co-worker seems uncomfortable with your behaviour, read their body language and stop. To us, all of these things seem fairly simple.
But, because there seems to be some confusion around what is normal and appropriate behaviour in the office, Jones has stepped in to make a helpful, and wryly funny, video so that we’re all on the same page.
Enlisting the help of actor and music artist Donald Glover to narrate the piece, Jones directed the animated, 2 minute and fifty second video which outlines do’s and dont’s of the workplace.
The video, which was initially released by Buzzfeed, walks the viewer through a string of examples of things not to do in the office. It starts by addressing the current climate, asking: “has the current wave of sexual allegations made you scared, confused, maybe even a little angry? Is the culture shifting under your feet so fast you can’t make sense of it? Or do you simply not know how to behave at work anymore?”
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Jones said she wanted to make something that was “not going to be necessarily just for women, something that could travel on the internet, something that’s filled with facts, and hopefully a little bit entertaining that could help educate people a tiny bit.”
Using a format of ‘frequently asked questions’ Glover’s voice over explains that no, it’s not okay to greet your co-worker with a deep, full-bodied hug, give them a mouth kiss or tell them they look sexy in their pants (trousers). It also combats the rebuttal of “what if I’m just an affectionate person and the touching isn’t sexual?” To this, he reaffirms that whatever your “personal brand at work,” it’s not acceptable behaviour.
The narration also addresses those who haven’t done anything inappropriate themselves, but have heard about it happening to other people. Glover encourages everyone to be part of the conversation, saying: “It’s your problem. The world is changing under your feet, ultimately for the better, but it will take you and everyone around you to be a little more sensitive, aware and open to learning a new way. All people expect to be treated with respect and to feel safe at work.”
Explaining the reasons behind making the video, Jones said: “There’s been a lot of discussion about whether that’s even fair to link someone pinching an ass or something off-color at work to an actual assault. I think a lot of people struggle with the connection, because they think it’s dramatic to connect the two. So the PSA is intended to explain that there are these nuanced dynamics that are happening when there’s a power imbalance.”
“It’s been a tough conversation to include men in, because I think there are a lot of things women feel men have not understood up until now, and they don’t feel like it’s their job to educate them.”