April 23, 2018

Mayor Emanuel and Actor and Producer David Schwimmer Launch #ThatsHarassment Campaign in Chicago

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and actor and producer David Schwimmer today launched ‘#ThatsHarassment’ in Chicago, a citywide campaign to empower victims and bystanders to speak out and provide tools for employers to create a safe work environment. The PSAs will appear on City billboards along the highways and information panels throughout the city, and in Creative Mobile Technologies and Curb Technologies taxicabs.

“By confronting sexual harassment, discrimination and misogyny directly, we can help more people understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to this incredibly important issue,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The #ThatsHarassment series is part of a coordinated, concerted campaign to educate and empower everyone to recognize and respond to unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Together, we can create safe, empowering professional environments for all."

“No longer does the shame of sexual harassment and assault belong with the victims and the survivors,” said actor, producer and director David Schwimmer. “These PSAs showcase the pervasiveness of abuse in the workplace, and make very clear that perpetrators who use positions of power to demean, deride, discredit, harass and assault anyone will be held accountable.”

David Schwimmer and his team created the project to highlight behaviors that are unacceptable and to end institutional silence and complicity. The films take place in various professional settings and depict scenarios of sexual harassment where men in positions of power cross the line. Based on real events, the videos include: “The Boss” starring Zazie Beetz and David Schwimmer, “The Coworker” starring Grace Gummer and Joseph Sikora, and “The Doctor” starring Cynthia Nixon and Michael Kelly. The PSAs can be found at: www.CityofChicago.org/ThatsHarassment.

The campaign also encourages employers to use the films for training to proactively address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers interested in using these films to educate, inform and ensure they are creating safe work environments and conditions for their employees can find more information at NWLC.org/ThatsHarassment.

The ads will start running on April 23 throughout Chicago. In 2018 alone, the various content on the digital billboards have reached more than 515 million impressions. City information panels like ads hosted on bus shelters have reached nearly 190 million impressions in the same time period.

Every day hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence and abuse. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that one in four women face harassment in the workplace, and many are hesitant to report it. Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries, especially in low-wage service jobs. More than 25 percent of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC in the last decade came from industries with service-sector workers.

In Chicago, Commissioners, advisory councils and staff conduct proactive programs of education and intervention to discourage bigotry and bring people from different groups together through the Commission on Human Relations (CCHR). CCHR promotes Chicago's diversity and works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and enforces the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance, which prohibit discrimination within the city of Chicago in: Housing, Employment, Credit Transactions, Bonding and Public Accommodations. For information about filing a complaint with CCHR, call (312) 744-4111 or visit cityofchicago.org/humanrelations.

“Sexual harassment has no place in Chicago, and it is critical to we educate everyone on the simple difference between right and wrong,” said Commissioner on Human Relations Mona Noriega. “#ThatsHarassment” is the latest step, but certainly not the last steps towards making sure our workplaces are professional, respectful and empowering for all employees.”

Mayor Emanuel and City Council have taken steps to protect and support city employees who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Under the ordinance, the Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) is developing measures to improve awareness of existing resources, warning signs of abuse and education on how to act responsively. The city also provides up to one month of paid leave for City employees who qualify for the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (“VESSA”). The ordinance was developed in coordination with Chicago Says No More, a coalition of businesses, civic and philanthropic leaders collaborating with not-for-profit organizations with a mission to serve those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

David Schwimmer has advocated for sexual assault education, awareness and prevention for more than two decades. He co-founded Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, celebrating its 30th anniversary, where he recently directed the world premiere of Plantation! following his successful production of Beyond Caring. In addition to many notable TV, film and theater credits, he was nominated for his second Emmy for his role as Robert Kardashian in the FX miniseries, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Rape Foundation in California.

The full-length short films and PSAs were first launched in New York. In partnership with the Ad Council, the campaign was supported digitally and on television by major media companies including ABC/Freeform, Amazon, CBS, The CW, Fox, FX, Hulu, Starz and Showtime. The PSAs, executive produced by Schwimmer, Sigal Avin and Mazdack Rassi of MILK Studios, are shortened versions of the films that first launched in April 2017.

The PSAs drive viewers to RAINN, which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, and encourage viewers to call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org/ThatsHarassment. RAINN operates a 24-hour hotline, along with a live chat option. Additionally, viewers can find relevant content and resources on sexual harassment.