In April 2017, actor David Schwimmer—along with writer and director Sigal Avin—released a series of video PSAs as part of a campaign called “That’s Harassment.” Disturbed by a culture in which women are often subject to acts of sexual aggression, he wanted to make sure that no woman or girl ever had to endure sexual assault or harassment again. Because of the recent #MeToo movement, these videos are now receiving wider distribution on both TV and various streaming services. But while Schwimmer’s message is going wide, it’s just as relevant closer to home.
According to a recent interview with Megyn Kelly of the TODAY show, he engaged in similar forms of advocacy in conversations he has with his 6-year-old daughter, Cleo.
“There should be, in my view, no shame about her body and about being in her body and understanding how her body works,” he told the Kelly. He went on to say that he wants to teach Cleo that it’s her body and her space.
“It’s more about personal space and building confidence in her to speak out and speak up if anything she encounters makes her feel uncomfortable, period. Her body, her hair, it’s hers. She owns it. It’s giving her the courage and confidence to speak up and speak out.”
Schwimmer described talking to Cleo about a recent run-in with some older boys at her school who were touching her back.
“She turned around and gave them a look,” he said. “I said, ‘Next time, Cleo, you need to turn around and firmly but politely say to please stop touching me. If you do that twice and they keep on touching you, you stand up, walk away and find a grownup, period.’ It’s important to instill that kind of confidence from an early age.”
Schwimmer is no stranger to tough topics and advocacy for women and girls. He made a movie about child internet predators. He’s worked with The Rape Foundation since his “Friends” years. And he’s gotten a reputation for being an all-around upstanding guy. He says that hearing his own mother’s stories of harassment—and those of many other women in his life—impacted him.
It seems that Cleo is getting a firsthand witness of advocacy for women through her dad’s work and the way he’s raising her:
Schwimmer is also a champion for his daughter rising above challenges and speaking up for herself.
Cleo’s got quite a role model in her famous father.