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Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Actresses Sally Hawkins, Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie and Meryl Streep embrace.
#TIMESUP

Among the $100,000 of luxury gifts, Oscar nominees were given pepper spray

By Lianna Brinded

Every year the Academy Awards give its Oscar nominees a gift bag worth around $100,000. It’s always crammed with luxury trips and items like expensive beauty products and technology. But this year its contents were a nod to the different era that the entertainment industry has entered.

Nestled within the bag that contained vouchers for a holiday in Tanzania for two worth more than $40,000, a six-night trip to Hawaii totaling $3,000, and even a levitating Bluetooth speaker, was a gel pepper spray and a keyring-sized pepper spray.

The inclusion of the products is a significant moment for the entertainment industry—an acknowledgement of the widespread claims of sexual harassment that have dominated headlines over the last six months, ever since allegations of movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades of abuse, intimidation, harassment, and rape came to light.

Following the revelations, the #MeToo movement became a loud platform for those calling out harassment and abuse across the entertainment industry, as well as many others. It led to Time magazine anointing those who gave power to the movement as “Person of the Year” as part of the “The Silence Breakers.

Later the #TimesUp campaign moved on the cause by creating a legal defense fund that helps financially support those who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace. During the the Golden Globes and Baftas, many actors and actresses turned up in black outfits to raise awareness, as did some to Sunday night’s Oscars.