We are disgusted by the stories we’re seeing every day of sexism in Hollywood — but these women are on the front line!
The Hollywood Reporter gathered its annual Actress Roundtable recently, with acclaimed stars Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, Mary J. Blige, Allison Janney, and Jennifer Lawrence in attendance, and the topic at the fore of everyone’s mind was the abuse of women — and the system that protects it.
J.Law came prepared with a story of being shut down just for standing up for herself with a director spoke inappropriately to her.
“I’ve had this happen: I finally made the decision to stand up for myself, and then I went to go to the bathroom at work and one of the producers stopped me and was like, ‘You know, we can hear you on the microphone; you’ve been really unruly.’ Which was not true, but basically my job was threatened because the director said something fucked up to me and I said, ‘That’s sick, you can’t talk to me like that,’ and then I was punished, and I got afraid that I wasn’t going to be hired again.”
Emma added knowingly:
“Yeah, you were ‘difficult.'”
The mother! star agreed:
“Yeah, I was called ‘difficult’ and a ‘nightmare.’ I think a lot of people aren’t coming forward because they’re afraid they’re not going to work again. You need to be able to say, ‘This is wrong,’ and have somebody do something about it, instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s wrong? Well, you’re fired.'”
All the news coming out about the misconduct of show business bigwigs has led many to think Hollywood is some special case where sexism and sexual misconduct is rampant.
Jen wants everyone to remember it’s happening in EVERY industry:
“The big misconception, though, is that this is just in the entertainment industry. Once again, the entertainment industry is kind of the stage on which you can see the inner workings of problems that are all over the world. If a flight attendant comes forward about a pilot, it doesn’t end up in the news because nobody knows about it. That doesn’t mean that there’s less sexual abuse going on anywhere else in the world, in any other place of work,” she argues. “But fortunately, we’re starting the conversation now.”
That goes for pay inequality too!
Jen got some flack for complaining in a now famous Lenny Letter essay about being paid less than a man, seeing as she’s the highest paid actress in the world, but she wasn’t just speaking out for her own personal gain:
“It’s much easier for me now to be paid fairly. The reason I spoke out about it was really├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥we’re in the industry, everybody is looking at us, if we’re going through this, every woman in the world is going through this. But the real problem is the normalization of it. It’s the reason why your agents don’t think twice about paying you a third of your [co-star’s salary] because it’s been so normalized for so long.”
Yep. It’s that kind of inertia that tells bystanders they should stand aside and let these things happen — or in the case of some producers, to get the asshole director’s back!
Keep fighting the good fight, gurl!
You can read the entire discussion HERE!
[Image via FayesVision/Mario Mitsis/WENN.]