Actor David Schwimmer was so disturbed by a video series a friend sent him a few months ago, he knew he had to do something.
That friend was director Sigal Avin, and those videos were part of a series of sexual harassment PSAs she’d produced in Israel, Schwimmer explained to “The View” co-hosts on April 5, 2017.
Avin had sent the videos to get Schwimmer’s feedback, but — after seeing the potential effects the PSAs could have in the U.S., where an estimated 1 in 3 American women have experienced sexual harassment at work — the pair decided to create a similar series stateside.
“The current climate right now in this country … it feels like women and their advocates are fighting for basic human and civil rights,” Schwimmer explained. “Sigal and I thought, we need to explicitly state that sexual harassment and sexual assault is not permissible and also give a face to it.”
They produced the six-part series — starring Schwimmer, Cynthia Nixon, Emmy Rossum, and Bobby Cannavale — which you can watch here (the PSAs will play consecutively):
During his interview on “The View,” Schwimmer touched on one particularly crucial point about sexual harassment as it exists in the workplace.
Most of us can recognize explicit sexual violence — “everyone’s seen the guy jumping out of the bushes,” Schwimmer noted — but predatory men often take advantage of power structures in the workplace, pressuring women into uncomfortable, and even dangerous, positions. It might not be as obvious, Schwimmer said, but subtlety doesn’t matter.
It’s vital that men understand this “gray area,” as Schwimmer put it, still qualifies as sexual harassment. It’s just as unacceptable.
“I really hope that men see these films as well, so they can learn, ‘Oh, that’s not appropriate behavior,'” he said.
Watch Schwimmer’s interview discussing his PSA series, “That’s Harassment,” on “The View” below: