Brow Beat

Thandie Newton, Asia Argento Criticize Time’s Up Movement for Exclusivity

Thandie Newton attends the premiere of Westworld during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 19, 2018 in New York City.
Thandie Newton at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Westworld.
Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Since its inception in January of 2018, the Time’s Up movement has drawn criticism from some unlikely detractors: the very women it’s supposed to protect. Trailblazing Harvey Weinstein accusers Rose McGowan and Asia Argento called the movement out after its controversial Golden Globes debut: McGowan called Time’s Up’s all-black fashion protest “Hollywood fakery,” while Argento said she was not invited to the Golden Globes nor asked to sign the open letter that kicked off the movement. Now, Westworld actor Thandie Newton has come forward to say that she felt ignored by Time’s Up as well.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Newton said she was excluded from the movement when it launched. “I wasn’t hot enough,” she reasoned. “I wasn’t mainstream enough and I wasn’t going to be at the Oscars this year, even though I am having a kind of renaissance in my career.” Newton, whose performance as Maeve on Westworld earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, told W magazine in 2016 that she had been abused by a casting director as a teenager. She now says she was subsequently “ostracized” by the industry.

Citing Newton’s interview, Asia Argento took to Twitter to reiterate her doubts about Time’s Up:

While it’s unclear exactly who, of the “over 300 women” cited in Time’s Up’s debut ad, is running the movement, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, and America Ferrera have all recurred as key players. The Jan. 1, 2018 open letter from which Argento was conspicuously absent sports signatures from all manner of supportive women, including feminist writers like Roxane Gay and Gloria Steinem and Hollywood heavy-hitters like Kathleen Kennedy and Nicole Kidman.* Fame does not appear to be a factor in who signed the ad, and Thandie Newton’s name is on the letter—though such a symbolic move does not necessarily indicate her active inclusion in the movement as a whole.

The open letter, addressed to female farmworkers, marked an initial move by Time’s Up to quell claims of elitism. The movement had raised some $20 million dollars in legal aid as of February this year and works to direct harassment and assault victims toward financial and social resources.

Movement organizer and actor Jessica Chastain responded to Argento’s tweets Monday afternoon, saying, “I have felt so bad that some feel excluded.”

“No one is unwelcome,” Chastain tweeted. “The more women that come together, standing shoulder to shoulder, the stronger we are.”

Correction, April 24, 2018: This article originally referred to Gloria Steinem as an “activist academic.” Steinem’s website instead describes her as a “writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer.”