The “Scandal” actress, dressed in black to show solidarity with the Time’s Up movement against sexual assault, told NBC’s Al Roker that she’s at the show to speak out about the “imbalance of power,” silence and lack of support in Hollywood.
“The reason we’re here and didn’t just stay home is because we feel we shouldn’t have sit out the night, give up our seats at the table, our voice in this industry because of bad behavior that wasn’t ours,” the actress said.
Washington was among more than 300 women in television, film and theater to help launch the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund on Jan. 1. The fund is meant to help those who don’t have access to legal representation report the sexual misconduct they’ve experienced.
After actresses first announced the dress-code protest, some criticized the move. Actress Rose McGowan, who’s been at the forefront of speaking out against sexual harassment in Hollywood, tweeted that it wouldn’t effect “real change.”
Washington, however, told Roker that their presence is powerful.
“We get to be here to celebrate each other and stand in joy and solidarity and say we are looking out for anybody who feels marginalized in the workplace, whether you’re a woman or man, because of your sexual orientation, age, race, gender, we’re here to support you,” she told Roker Sunday. “We’re committed to making a change not just in our industry, but in every industry.”