The Joyful Heart Foundation, which SVU star Mariska Hargitay founded in 2004 to help victims of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence, released a PSA on Monday to call attention to rhetoric that frequently minimizes and excuses sexual and domestic violence. The organization also asks viewers to sign onto a pledge that includes seven steps to work toward ending the culture that often keeps survivors of sexual assault and harassment from speaking up.
The PSA features all male actors — including Blair Underwood, Tate Donovan, and Hargitay’s Law & Order: SVU co-stars Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, Danny Pino and Dann Florek — repeating the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” At the end of the 30-second commercial, this message comes on screen: “Enough. Together, we can raise a generation of boys to respect women and girls.”
“The series speaks to the excuses that are so often heard – whether in a locker room, board room, school yard, or living room,” the Joyful Heart Foundation said in a press release. “The PSAs invite men to become an active part of the movement to address, prevent and — one day — end this violence.”
The spot makes no direct call-out to Trump, but it was certainly released at an interesting time in the presidential election. Last month, after the Washington Post leaked a 2005 tape showing Republican nominee Donald Trump boasting about how he could do anything he wanted to women, Trump repeatedly characterized his comments as “locker room” talk. And in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week, Melania Trump called her husband’s comments on the recording “boy talk” — even though Cooper noted that Trump was 59 at the time.
Since the tape was released, a number of women have come forward, alleging that Trump harassed them, groped them, or kissed them without consent. Trump has denied all of the allegations, and threatened to sue the women accusing him.
NBC also has a Trump-inspired Law & Order: SVU episode in the works, revolving around a politician whose campaign is derailed after a number of sexual assault allegations. The episode was originally set to air Oct. 26, but NBC later chose to delay it until after election day.
Watch the Joyful Heart Foundation’s PSA above.