Mila Kunis is no longer letting Hollywood’s gender bias go unnoticed. The actress penned a powerful letter in A Plus detailing the sexism she’s experienced throughout her career, including having a producer threaten her future in the entertainment industry.
“’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,” she wrote. “I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to.”
Upset by his statement, she continued, writing, “‘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.’ And guess what? The world didn’t end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again. 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.”
During her career Kunis also noted, “There have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender.” Adding, “And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realized that it’s bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.”
Writing that change isn’t coming fast enough for women, the 33-year-old explained how she began her own production company to shine light on important social issues and create her own content.
In the process of pitching a show to a major network, she received an email from a producer referring to Kunis as Ashton Kutcher’s “wife and baby momma.”
“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,” she stated. They removed their involvement in the project.
“It’s these very comments that women deal with day in and day out in offices, on calls, and in emails — microaggressions that devalue the contributions and worth of hard-working women,” she explained.
Now, moving forward, she states that she “is done compromising” and “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,” she wrote. “I cannot guarantee that my objections will be taken to heart, but at least now I am part of creating an environment where there is the opportunity for growth And if my comments fall on deaf ears, I will choose to walk away.”
Read the full essay here.