When Kate Winslet accepted an honorary award for excellence in film at the 2018 London Critics’ Circle film awards, she used the opportunity to address the women’s movement in a powerful speech.
The 42-year-old star said she could no longer be silent. “It almost feels uncomfortable to receive an award at such a time. But being up here does give me the opportunity to say some things that matter to me”, she began. “There are directors, producers and men of power who have for decades been awarded and applauded for their highly regarded work by both this industry and moviegoers alike.”
“As women around the world and from all walks of life marched last weekend… I realised that I wouldn’t be able to stand here this evening and keep to myself some bitter regrets that I have about poor decisions to work with individuals with whom I wish I had not”, Kate admitted. “By not saying anything, I might be adding to the anguish of many courageous women and men.”
“Sexual abuse is a crime. While it rests with the rule of law to pass judgement, it lies with all of us to listen to the smallest of voices and to never stop listening. Also those who do have a voice are becoming afraid to say anything, because of intense scrutiny and criticism.” She urged the audience to “keep the focus on the terrible, secret crimes of abuse against vulnerable children, girls, women and indeed boys and men too.”
“The real headline here is that a Hollywood commission on sexual harassment and advancing equality in the workplace now exists”, she stressed. “The Time’s Up movement that will enable anyone to get professional support to fight back against predators and all forms of abuse and to address the complex problems of inequality and abuse of power in the workplace also now exists. I know we all stand together in hoping that this moment in history paves the way for a transformed future for generation upon generation to come.”
“I think again of the Women’s Marches”, Kate said. “There was one banner scrawled on cardboard that particularly resonated with me. ‘The older I get the more I see women described as having gone mad. What they’ve actually become is knowledgeable and powerful and furious.’ Years ago that woman would likely have been locked away. How times have changed. Let’s keep them changing. Thank you very much.”