The Time’s Up anti-harassment movement is big news in the wake of Sunday’s Golden Globes, and thus it proved a pertinent topic for ABC president Channing Dungey at the Television Critics Association press tour Monday.
“We’re kind of at a watershed moment in a real way,” Dungey said in discussing the evolving attitudes towards harassment in the workplace. “It’s an exciting time to be here, to be in this role to be at this company. We think that we have a collective responsibility to do more and to do better. Whether it’s 50:50 by 20:20, whether it’s Time’s Up and everything else that’s happening, I’m really happy that these conversations are happening.”
As to how the company is handling the situation, Dungey added, “I think it’s an issue that we have always taken very seriously as a company, and we will continue to do so moving forward. We have a collective responsibility to do everything we can to make sure that everyone feels that the workplace is a safe and equal environment. I definitely want to be a part of all of that.”
ABC has a well-earned reputation for its inclusive roles–mostly thanks to Shonda Rhimes, who has signed a new deal with Netflix–and Dungey said that will be continue to be the case going forward. “When I think about the shows that we have on our air, we’ve been known for a long time for shows that feature strong, dynamic, powerful women at their forefront,” she said, “and we’re going to continue with that kind of storytelling. I think that the more that we can show onscreen men and women working together side by side with respect for one another, I think that that’s a good message for us to be spreading.”
Despite Rhimes’ Netflix move, Dungey voiced support for her longtime colleague. “My relationship with Shonda pretty much dates back to my first days in television because my first assignment in television was working on Grey’s Anatomy,” she said. “I’ve known for a while that Shonda was interested in stretching different sets of creative muscles, and I think we all know that there are different challenges and opportunities in broadcast and different challenges and opportunities in streaming. I wish her all the best as she explores those new options.”
Dungey also said Rhimes’ departure would make space for upcoming creatives, framing it as positive change. Following the panel she said to reporters, “The great thing is there’s always new talent that emerges. This is going to give them an opportunity to step into the spotlight even more.”