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Anita Hill, the subject of the film "Anita" poses for a photo during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah

Anita Hill to lead Hollywood commission on sexual harassment

A coalition of powerful Hollywood and media figures on Friday formed a commission meant to address the avalanche of sexual misconduct claims in the entertainment industry that have emerged in recent months.

The Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace will be led by Anita Hill and comes after a number of women, and some men, have come forward to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment across a wide swath of industries.

The flood of claims began in October after extensive investigations by The New York Times and The New Yorker found decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The group was announced in a statement on Friday, and was formed by a contingent of media and entertainment executives including CEOs from Disney, Netflix, Paramount Pictures and the Universal Music Group, the Associated Press reported. The commission will meet in January to lay out its mission.

It was founded after “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy and others called for a meeting on issues of sexual harassment and inequality that have captured the attention of the country under the banner of the #MeToo movement, founded more than a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke.

“The fact that so many industry leaders across film, television, music, digital, unions, agencies … and guilds came together, in one room, to explore solutions speaks to a new era,” Kennedy said in a statement.

In 1991, Hill testified during a televised public hearing that Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her while they worked together at the U.S. Department of Education. She is now a professor at Brandeis University.

“It is time to end the culture of silence,” Hill told the AP in a statement. “I’ve been at this work for 26 years. This moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change.”

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