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The Rise of Red Carpet Activism

By Hannah Fuchs

In the era of the influential and inspiring #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual harassment and injustice, Hollywood’s most grandiose, star-studded events have started to change their tune.

Many of these awards show transformations can be seen on the red carpet. In the past few years, many of the most notable red carpet correspondents (including veteran Giuliana Rancic of the E! network) have ended the “Who are you wearing?” question after garnering criticism from viewers and accusations of superficiality. Correspondents such as Rancic have since steered their celebrity interviews to focus on discussing exciting projects and achievements before fashion.

While these new interview guidelines are successful in proving that celebrities are more than just a pretty face (or pretty outfit, in this case), it cannot be denied that red carpet fashion is an integral part of awards season. At the peak of the #MeToo movement in late 2017, Hollywood’s elite decided to show solidarity to the victims of sexual harassment by wearing black to the 2018 Golden Globes, which took place on January 7th. All but three attendees showed up to The Beverly Hilton in couture black gowns and sleek black tuxedos. Many also donned Time’s Up pins, furthering their support for these now iconic and impactful movements.

Celebrities were also unafraid to share their opinions. “Will and Grace” actress Debra Messing openly expressed her displeasure during her interview with Giuliana Rancic over the E! network’s pay gap, a exposé revealed after Rancic’s co-worker Catt Sadler resigned from the

network due to learning her salary was significantly lower than her male co-host’s. Two weeks later at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, Rancic herself questioned actress Alison Brie about the sexual assault allegations against brother-in-law James Franco. These uncomfortable discussions arguably need to be had, and Hollywood seems to be sick of side-stepping and avoiding asking the hard questions.

Award shows may no longer be showcasing all-black fashion, but celebrity outspokenness and activism remains strong. Notably, many have donated to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund to ease the legal costs for victims of these injustices. Time’s Up pins have continued to be spotted at many other awards shows, most recently the Oscars on March 4th, while the Grammys opted for solidarity in the form of white roses. Whatever one’s opinion may be on #MeToo and Time’s Up, one thing is for sure: the survivors and supporters of these movements refuse to sit back and be silenced.

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