David Schwimmer will always be known to fans as the unlucky-in-love Ross Geller who didn’t get the girl until the very end. He’s had a successful career as an actor, but it’s what he does when he’s not in front of a camera that is much more compelling and important. Serving on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation for the past 15 years, Schwimmer has dedicated his time to bringing light to the issue of sexual harassment.
In April 2017, the actor, along with filmmaker Sigal Avin, released a series of short public service announcements that were timelier than he could have ever expected. Launched before Harvey Weinstein became the first domino to topple in a wake of sexual allegations, the short videos each highlight a form of sexual harassment in the workplace. The films, which are executive produced by Schwimmer, will be shown on the screens in the back of New York taxis as Schwimmer says “nothing’s going to be accomplished without dialogue.”
Unfortunately, Schwimmer is all too familiar with this subject as he grew up watching his mother and sister being victimized. That led to an op-ed piece he wrote for NBC news where the actor said his mother was subjected to sexual harassment, discrimination, chauvinism, and sexism. Schwimmer channeled his frustration into creating the #ThatsHarassment campaign which has partnered with the Ad Council; Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network; and National Women’s Law Center to encourage victims and those who are aware of sexual harassment taking place to speak out. The PSAs also offer tools that help employers learn how to create a safe working environment.
Schwimmer says #ThatsHarassment isn’t just a movement to bring awareness. It’s a campaign and a call to action. He said, “We are trying to provide real solutions to both get people empowered to report and heal, and to get companies to reform their workplaces. I want to change things.”
As a father of a 6-year-old daughter, Schwimmer knew that if he was going to do something to help future generations, he had to do it now. Cosmopolitan Magazine has created a playlist of all six short films available on YouTube.