'Sexism in Hollywood has been entrenched forever,' says Geena Davis
Influential women in entertainment encourage those starting out to take on adversity at annual summit
Actress Geena Davis, Frozen writer Jennifer Lee and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins were among the Hollywood heavyweights encouraging women to get behind the scenes and help shift the industry's direction at the annual Women in Entertainment summit in Los Angeles Thursday.
"Sexism in Hollywood has been entrenched forever, but I do think this is a watershed moment," Davis, who heads up an institute on gender in media, told CBC News.
"What's going to be different about it now is not just women supporting women, it's men needing to become involved."
Hollywood's dark side continues to unravel with mounting allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and improprieties, initially sparked by accusations made against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
"What I really appreciate — that I've been hearing the last couple of months — is when a woman speaks about this, we're taking it seriously. And we should," said Lee.
But the head of SAG-AFTRA, the American actors' union, said there's a danger in focusing too much on individual perpetrators.
"My major concern is, really, that with the allegations that are taking place, that people are focusing so much on those individuals that we're hearing about... I don't know what the outcome will be, but there will be outcomes," SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris told CBC.
"I don't want that to be satisfactory enough for us to stop the search on how to end the epidemic."
Jenkins also gave a talk at the networking event, but did not speak with media.
Brett Ratner, a close friend of Jenkins' and co-financier of Wonder Woman, has also been accused of sexual harassment. She tweeted Wednesday that she was "extremely distressed" to learn about the allegations, after having presented an award to him at a Los Angeles function just days before.
Carteris, a former actress known for her role on Beverly Hills, 90210, says there's a larger issue that needs to be addressed.
"You're seeing a lot of courage coming up right now. You're seeing a lot of people step forward. The thing is, a lot of this stuff is from before," she said.
"Moving forward, how do we go and prevent this harassment from happening and also how do we empower people so they can speak in the moment? Because that's when we can really shift the situation."