November 14, 2017
20th Century Fox VP Claire Schmidt Steps Down To Launch Startup Battling Sexual Harassment
In the aftermath of the avalanche of sexual harassment allegations coming out of Hollywood, it was announced that 20th Century Fox Vice President Claire Schmidt is exiting the studio and stepping into the position of CEO of AllVoices, a new startup where anyone can anonymously report instances of harassment, discrimination, or bias directly to their CEO and company board.
According to Yahoo Finance, Schmidt’s last day will be Friday and she will join the Los Angeles-based startup website, which she envisions as one of many solutions for workers to take action when they experience a “challenging” work situation whether it be witnessed or experienced first hand. This includes harassment, discrimination or bias based on factors including gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age or disability.
“A lot of these companies, when they find out there’s a culture problem, it’s already too late by the time the culture problem is out in the public,” Schmidt told Yahoo Finance. “They say, ‘We just didn’t know. We weren’t aware.’ Our goal is to give them the data as early as possible so they can’t say they didn’t know.”
Once launched, AllVoices will aggregate reports submitted and delivers the date to the CEO and board anonymously.
Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler is an advisor at AllVoices. She is best known for writing a blog post about sexual harassment at ridesharing company which launched an investigation. Good Universe recently landed a pitch that focuses on Fowler with Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures screenwriter Allison Schroeder
Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff, Tinder co-founder Sean Rad, former Google executive Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, and law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati serve as investors of the startup.
In the wake of the current landscape of sexual harassment and assault against men and women, the launch of AllVoices is a tool that can benefit not only Hollywood but other industries as well. Schmidt, a survivor of sexual assault herself, is inspired by all the women and men who have come forward with their stories.
“I find the people who are coming forward publicly so brave, especially given what I went through, which wasn’t even on the front page of every newspaper,” Schmidt said. “But I also felt like, if there was ever a way I could experience something really challenging and have anonymity, so I could still feel as though I was doing my part, which is trying to make sure something like this didn’t happen in the future, while sort of protecting myself. Well, I just felt like that would be really helpful.”