UPDATED with Time’s Up statement, 1:10 PM: Deven MacNair claims that the Time’s Up movement has turned its back on her. The Hollywood stuntwoman, who launched a one-woman crusade against “wigging” – the age-old practice of stuntmen donning wigs and women’s clothes to double for actresses, said that she’d asked for the group’s assistance but was told that her case was “outside the scope of their work”.
“Really? It’s outside the scope of their work?” Deven told Deadline. “This is one of the reasons more women don’t come forward. Reaching out to them was a colossal waste of time. To get this kind of a response from them, on an issue like this, is just incredible.”
Launched by 300 women in the entertainment industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Time’s Up isn’t just about harassment but equality as well, saying that it’s designed to address “the systemic power imbalances that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential.”
However, there are multiple initiatives under the Time’s Up movement, and a spokesperson for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, who contacted Deadline via email after this story was published, said that MacNair had reached out for help to the wrong place. “Devon [sic] MacNair has a real issue and I am sure it was frustrating for her to get the response she did. Unfortunately, the Legal Defense Fund was not the place for her to get relief,” said Hilary Rosen. “The Legal Defense Fund does handle sexual harassment and assault in all industries, not sex discrimination. It is an important distinction.
“The Fund was created because of the significant amount of harm and fear generated in the workplace across the country by such abuse,” she wrote. “Discrimination on the basis of sex is a critical problem and the Commission formed by Time’s Up and chaired by Kathleen Kennedy is working to change policies in the industry. We are currently thinking about ways to better inform the community about the important distinctions here.”
MacNair, who filed her first-of-its-kind sex-discrimination complaint with the EEOC in September – months before the Time’s Up movement was launched – alleges that the male stunt coordinator on MGM’s The Domestics wouldn’t let her do an easy stunt driving job because he felt it was too dangerous for her. The brakes were faulty, he said, and the car had caught on fire the day before. Instead, he donned a wig and woman’s clothes and did it himself. And when she confronted him about an Instagram photo that surfaced of him in women’s garb, he emailed her: “Jeez. I have six sisters. I probably know more about women than you do.”
When reaching to Time’s Up, she received a form letter in response. “Thank you for contacting the National Women’s Law Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund,” Caitlin Lowell, the organization’s program coordinator, wrote to MacNair. “We are sorry you are dealing with a difficult situation in your life. The National Women’s Law Center represents only a few clients each year. The Legal Network for Gender Equity solely works on issues of sex discrimination in the workplace, healthcare, and education. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer legal assistance as the matter you contacted us about is outside of the scope of our work.”
Lowell then cautioned her that “by providing this information to you, NWLC does not intend to create and is not creating an attorney-client relationship with you. Please do not send or otherwise provide NWLC with any confidential information unless NWLC expressly authorizes you to do so. Providing information to NWLC will not create an attorney-client relationship unless NWLC expressly agrees to represent you.”
Before wishing her “the best of luck,” Lowell — who did not return Deadline’s call for comment — offered her a litany of resources that she might find “helpful,” including organizations that deal with survivors of sexual assault; domestic violence and stalking; discrimination based on age, race, housing and disability; and referral services for lawyers and counseling – none of which she says she needs.
MacNair already has an attorney in her EEOC complaint against the film’s production company, Hollywood Gang, and against SAG-AFTRA, which she has accused of “not helping me in this matter.” SAG-AFTRA looked into the incident, but took no action against the company or the stunt coordinator, saying that it “adamantly opposes the practice of wigging men to double for a role that is identifiable as female. Our decades-long efforts to eliminate this practice have effected positive change and reduced it dramatically, and our continued work will make it even less likely that it will happen again. As to the particulars of the currently pending claim, we cannot further comment as this matter is in active litigation.”