Actor David Schwimmer said almost every woman in his life had been sexually harassed, prompting him to join a star-studded campaign to encourage victims to speak up.
Schwimmer, best known for playing Ross Geller in the hit sitcom “Friends”, stars in one of six short videos released on Monday as part of the campaign #ThatsHarassment as well as being the executive producers on the project.
The 50-year-old actor teamed up for the project with Israeli director Sigal Avin who last year released in her homeland shorts based on real-life incidents of sexual harassment.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, both Schwimmer and Avin said the issue was dear to their hearts due to personal experiences.
Schwimmer, who has a six-year-old daughter, said that he had grown concerned after hearing “countless stories” of sexual harassment from every women close to him – including his mother.
“Every woman in my family, in my life, has been harassed,” he said in the interview.
“The problem is that people don’t step forward or say something if they’re witnessing it because of fear of retaliation.”
One of the videos, titled “The Co-worker”, features a male bartender telling his female colleague about drunk customers making lewd comments about “grabbing” women by the genitals.
Though an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s boast in a 2005 video about grabbing women’s genitals, Schwimmer dismissed any partisan undertone.
“This is not a partisan ‘liberal Hollywood throwing their arms up against Trump’ issue,” he said.
“Every woman, no matter what her political beliefs, is subject to sexual harassment.”
In another video, “The Boss”, Schwimmer plays an office worker who claims to show his appreciation to a reluctant assistant by kissing her.
The videos, available on Facebook, also feature actresses Cynthia Nixon best known from the TV series “Sex in the City”, Emmy Rossum from U.S. comedy series “Shameless” and Cristela Alonzo from sitcom “Cristela”.
Nearly three quarters of U.S. adults who experienced sexual harassment at work did not report the incident, a 2013 YouGov/Huffington Post survey found.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)