Former White House aide Tina Tchen will take the reins of the “#MeToo”-centered Time’s Up foundation, which advocates for women who face discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in the entertainment industry — and its the same Tina Tchen that tried to wield her influence to get former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollet off the hook for allegedly filing a false police report in Chicago.
Time’s Up was formed by Hollywood A-listers in the wake of a high-profile wave of sexual harassment allegations aimed at some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names. According to Deadline, the organization primarily runs the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which helps “defray legal and public relations costs for those pursuing sexual harassment retaliation claims,” and which Tchen co-founded back in 2018.
Time’s Up announced their new hire on Monday in a Tweet. Tchen released a video in partnership with Time’s Out Monday afternoon. In it, she explains her firm commitment to victims rights and due process.
‘I have been a single working mother throughout my career, and I have never witnessed such an inspiring and honest conversation about the challenges facing women and all workers, including sexual harassment, power, and equity,” Tchen says in the video statement. “I am more optimistic than ever that we can create workplaces where everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential and, in this new role, I’m determined to make it happen.”
Her official biography on the Time’s Up website describes Tchen as a tireless advocate for women and girls, and a former aide to both Barack and Michelle Obama, serving on the Obama White House’s gender equality and sexual assault task forces. She most recently worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center, helping to identify and process sexual harassment claims made against some of SPLC’s power players.
Her goal, she says, is to force workplaces in Hollywood to abide by the letter of the law.
“[We’re going to] work hard at the root cause of sexual harassment: because sexual harassment occurs when we have workplaces that aren’t diverse, that aren’t inclusive, that don’t respect their workers,” Tchen says. “And so we’re going to work with companies, with employers, with employees to make those workplaces ones that are safe, respectful, and where everyone can reach their full potential.”
Tchen has recently made headlines for her involvement in a high profile criminal case recently, but not on the side of victims — or taxpayers.
According to the Sun Times, Tchen is the former Obama aide who reached out to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to plead Jussie Smollet’s case.
The Daily Wire reported extensively on Tchen’s involvement in the Smollet case at the time. Court documents revealed that Tchen texted and emailed Foxx at the behest of Jussie Smollet’s family, begging the Cook County prosecutor to convince the police to drop their case against Smollet or turn over the case to the FBI (which probably would have relegated the case to a low priority).
Foxx ended up recusing herself from the investigation — at least according to Foxx — before it concluded, citing her messages with Tchen as evidence she could not claim impartiality in the case. The prosecutor’s office eventually charged Smollet with 16 counts of lying to police but dropped all counts in an unofficial “plea deal” with Jussie, who agreed to do a dozen hours of community service and forfeit a $10,000 bond.
Foxx has come under fire for that decision, particularly in light of recent revelations about her office, including evidence that non-celebrities charged with Smollet’s same crime received much harsher treatment.