Mira Sorvino Urges Calif. Governor Jerry Brown to Sign Sexual Harassment Protection Bills
Mira Sorvino is seeking California Gov. Jerry Brown’s support on five sexual harassment protection bills — almost one year after she leveled sexual harassment allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein.
The Oscar-winning actress, 50, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times published on Monday in which she reached out to Brown, 80, about signing bills into law that would protect people from workplace harassment.
“We now stand a year in from the publication of the fateful articles in the New York Times and the New Yorker that first exposed the predation of film world titan Harvey Weinstein,” Sorvino wrote. “I was one of the women interviewed by journalist Ronan Farrow, and I contributed my story because I wanted to make change in the world into which my daughters and sons will come of age.”
She continued, “Over the last 12 months, an unprecedented number of men (and some women) have been called out for their horrendous acts. Some have lost jobs and status, a precious few face criminal proceedings, and some remain in power.”
“Every time a predator is held accountable, it shows the public’s hunger to stop the gross injustices of sexual harassment, abuse and rape,” she explained. “But when the dust settles, will corporate culture, the entertainment industry, the political arena and religious institutions go back to business as usual — protecting their bottom lines and reputations, silencing victims, keeping abusers in play.”
Sorvino has been working toward passing bills in the California Legislature under the hashtag #TakeTheLead, which she said refers to California’s “opportunity to move to the forefront of protecting women’s and all worker’s rights” making it the “toughest slate of anti-sexual harassment bills in the nation.”
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The bills — AB 1870, SB 224, SB 1343, SB 1300 and AB 3080 — include reforms on extending the statute of limitations on filing sexual harassment claims from one to three years, as well as ending the exemption from punishment afforded to those accused of sexual harassment in the “one free grope” rule in California.
Sorvino is also fighting for mandatory sexual harassment training in all companies and businesses with more than five employees and extending its scope from simply supervisors to all workers. She is also pursuing an end to legal tactics used by employers to keep victims silent — methods that inevitably shield those accused of harassment.
The Beautiful Girls actress explained Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bills but wrote he “is under intense lobbying pressure to veto at least one of the bills, SB 1300, which would do away with non-disparagement clauses that are slipped into routine paperwork employees must sign when they’re hired, offered a raise or given a bonus.” The clauses currently come with a fine of up to $1 million if employees do speak out, according to Sorvino.
“Untold numbers of victims have been silenced in this way, especially those who lack the financial resources for a long, drawn-out legal battle to fight the unfairness of the clause,” the actress wrote. “We ask [Brown] to stand with the millions of people around the world who have raised their voices in a brave chorus of #MeToo and #TimesUp, and to add to this legacy the fearless protection of all working people.”
“We count on him to sign all five bills, and to turn a dream of our movement into reality,” she added.
Sorvino opened up about her own experiences with sexual harassment to Farrow in October 2017, joining actress Rosanna Arquette in detailing alleged harassment by Weinstein. She claimed the disgraced producer began to “massage my shoulders” and “tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around” at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement at the time that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
Weinstein was indicted on charges of rape in the first and third degree as well as criminal sexual act in the first degree in May in relation to different accusations of sexual assault. He pled not guilty in early June.
He was arrested on May 25 on those same counts and quickly released on bail. He is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 22 for a hearing on motions in his case, according to N.Y.C. prosecutors.