Time's Up Broke GoFundMe Record Raising Money for Victims of Harassment

The Time's Up Legal Defense Fund raised $22 million in the last year for victims of sexual assault and workplace harassment who can't afford legal assistance.

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Dec 6 2018, 4:34pm

Time's Up broke a GoFundMe record this year, raising more than $22 million dollars for its legal defense fund since the campaign went live on the site in December 2017.

According to BuzzFeed News, Time's Up's Legal Defense Fund GoFundMe was 2018's largest single fundraiser, having raised almost as much as all of the top 10 GoFundMe campaigns from last year combined.

Time's Up was a response to the outpouring of women's stories that shaped the #MeToo movement, the earliest ones stemming from Hollywood. Many criticized the movement for its initial focus on the entertainment industry, wondering what #MeToo meant for everyday women who didn't have the celebrity or wealth to make their voices heard or bring legal action against their alleged assailants.

In January, more than 300 women across the entertainment industry joined together to officially launch Time's Up and its legal defense fund, which relies on a collaboration with the National Women's Law Center to distribute funds and services.

Just four months later, Time's Up announced that more than 2,500 people had reached out to the fund for legal assistance.

"The more people who come out and say me too, we will not only change society, but we will change the law,” Roberta Kaplan, one of the cofounders of the fund, said during a panel at April's Tribeca Film Festival.

Kaplan recently took on a high-profile case through the defense fund, filing paperwork in October to represent Moira Donegan after writer Stephen Elliot sued her for creating the Shitty Media Men list, where his name was included alongside allegations of rape, sexual harassment, coercion, and "unsolicited invitations to his apartment." Elliot sought $1.5 million in damages from Donegan as well as 30 other Jane Does who anonymously contributed to the Google spreadsheet.

“Given the fact that (1) the case against Ms. Donegan is extremely weak both factually and legally; (2) our client is a freelance writer who obviously doesn’t have the resources to satisfy any monetary judgment; and (3) the case was filed in New York, a state with perhaps the most protective standard for free speech in the nation, it seems pretty clear to us that the whole point of the lawsuit is to intimidate other women against speaking out in a similar manner in the future,” Kaplan told the Cut at the time, saying New York state would likely frown "quite heavily" on his case.

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Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama and current head of the Time's Up defense fund, told Broadly in October, for the year anniversary of #MeToo, that she considers the force of the movement a sign of progress.

"If you think back, Me Too, when Tarana Burke first put it out there in 2006, started from a place where women were so fearful and the system was so broken that people were suffering in silence," Tchen said.

"They didn’t think there was a mechanism to speak out or that you would be protected in speaking out," she continued. "What we're seeing now is some measure of progress."