David Schwimmer is working with director Sigal Avin on a new campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment.
Avin, who is Israeli-American, directed (and wrote) five short films about sexual harassment last December, Cosmopolitan explains. The films were inspired by true stories, one of which was based on Avin's own experience.
When Avin realised the U.S. didn't have many "visual material[s] to combat sexual harassment in America," she turned to Schwimmer, Cosmopolitan notes. The Friends star helped the director adapt four of the original videos, along with two new ones, for American audiences. Avin and Schwimmer named the collection #ThatsHarassment, and it's available to view on YouTube. In addition to Schwimmer, the U.S. videos feature Cristela Alonzo, Emmy Rossum, and Cynthia Nixon.
The videos each feature a woman and a male counterpart — the Coworker, the Actor, the Boss, the Doctor, the Photographer, and the Politician. Each man harasses his fellow woman — and it's clear that the women are completely uncomfortable. And all of the cringe-worthy stories are inspired by reality.
"I grew up with stories of sexual harassment from my mom. Every woman in my family, in my life, has been harassed, except my daughter, thank god, who's only 6," Schwimmer told Cosmopolitan. "In the course of these stories and this process, I was repeatedly putting myself in the mind-set of what it must be like to be a woman in the world today. When you've been objectified your entire life and become accustomed to being a second-class citizen in many, many ways — constantly told that you aren't worth the same as men, basically, and that your body comes first, or what you look like comes first — it makes a lot more sense to me that a lot of women don't even recognise when they’re being harassed. Because you spend your whole life not being treated with the kind of respect that men are automatically given."
We're glad Schwimmer and Avin are shedding light on such an important topic. Harassment is harassment, whether it comes from an interview subject, a doctor, or a seemingly friendly coworker. Check out the full interview and all six videos over at Cosmopolitan.