As much as we’d like to think otherwise, Hollywood isn’t immune to the rampant sexism that plagues the workforce and ensures that women won’t achieve pay parity for another 136 years. And who better to reveal the horrific industry secrets than an insider herself?
Actress and businesswoman Mila Kunis penned an open letter, published on Ashton Kutcher’s website A Plus, calling out the culture of misogyny in Hollywood — and declaring that she’s done caving to the industry’s sexist approaches.
She began her letter by recounting a situation in which a Hollywood producer threatened her career when she refused to pose semi-nude on the cover of a magazine to promote her upcoming film.
“‘You’ll never work in this town again.’ A cliché to be sure, but also what a producer threatened when I refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote our film. I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to. ‘I will never work in this town again??’ I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said ‘no.'”
The producer was wrong — she did work again (she’s Mila f*cking Kunis, after all) but the encounter stuck with her.
“What this producer may never realize is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.”
“It’s what we are conditioned to believe — that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise. We don’t want to be kicked out of the sand box for being a “bitch.” So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining status quo and hope that change is coming.”
In an attempt to avoid the misogyny of Hollywood, Kunis started her own production company, Orchard Farm Productions. After signing with a producer and pitching a show to a network, the executive wrote the following in an executive email chain:
“And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby momma!!!”
….Hmm, last time we checked, “Ashton’s baby momma” wasn’t the top entry on her IMDB page.
With his email, the producer epitomized the issues women in the entertainment industry (and workforce in general) are facing.
This is the entirety of his email. Factual inaccuracies aside, he reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children. It ignored my (and my team’s) significant creative and logistical contributions.
Kunis ended the partnership because she’s a badass and completely over this kind of behavior.
She ended her letter promising to confront Hollywood sexism head on. Because she will work in “this town” — and she can decide who she’ll agree to work with.
“I’m done compromising; even more so I’m done with being compromised. So from this point forward, when I am confronted with one of these comments, subtle or overt, I will address them head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate.”
“I will work in this town again, but I will not work with you.”
Yaaas. Bowing down. You tell ’em, Mila.