On CBS Sunday Morning, Oprah Winfrey sat down with some famous members of the #TimesUp campaign. The women found some of Oprah’s questions easy to answer, but when it came to reconciling with and forgiving those who have been accused of sexual misconduct, the path forward was much more complex.
The #TimesUp movement was started to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, and America Ferrera have been outspoken members of the campaign, which has raised $16 million toward a fund to provide legal resources for victims.
The response has been huge. Men who are outed often lose jobs and sponsorships. But Oprah wanted to know what happens after the accusations and condemnations.
Oprah asked the women, “When somebody’s been accused of sexual harassment and loses their job, should they ever work again?” Witherspoon responded, “I’m not here to make that decision.”
When Oprah asked about forgiveness, Rhimes said, “I was raised in a world in which I believe that there has to be a belief that people can grow, change, and learn and know better.” She added, “At a certain point there has to be room for reconciliation in [the] world, in a weird way. But a lot of people don’t think that right now. And a lot of women have the right to not feel that right now.”
Ferrara insisted that the focus not shift to the concerns of the offenders, and should instead remain on the offended. “Speaking of this moment, as a culture we’ve gone from not listening, hearing, or believing women, and how were we going to skip over the whole part where women get to be heard, and go straight to the redemption of the perpetrators?” she said. “Can’t we live in that space where it’s OK for perpetrators to be a little bit uncomfortable with what the consequences will be?”
CBS Sunday Morning airs Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. on CBS.
Watch as Oprah Winfrey makes her powerful acceptance speech at the Golden Globes:
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