William H. Macy is among a group of Hollywood men who have gathered in recent days to discuss the Time’s Up and Me Too movements, the actor revealed on Sunday at the SAG Awards. Macy didn’t give many details, including who else participated in the meeting, but he did characterize the movement as a positive for his gender.
“We had a meeting — a bunch of guys got together under the auspices of Time’s Up, and that’s good for men,” Macy told reporters. “Men don’t talk enough. Men don’t talk to other men. And we talked.”
The “Shameless” star, who won the award for outstanding male actor in the comedy, admitted that “it’s hard to be a man these days. I think a lot of us feel like we’re under attack and that we need to apologize. Perhaps we do, and perhaps we are. We’ll keep talking.”
The actor also added that he felt the issue was “complicated”: “On one hand, what we do for a living, we’ve got to be free to speak the unspeakable and try things. So I hope it doesn’t throw a wet blanket on things and I don’t believe it will, because half the business is women and they’re smart. I have two daughters, I feel girls are ascendant and I’m thrilled for them. It’s a good time to be a girl.”
On the issue of safety in the workplace, Macy said he believed the issue has been rectified: “We’re not going back. It’s changed. It changed in an instant and it’s not going back. When it comes to equality in pay, it’s inevitable and it’s going to happen and it’s happening quickly. My hat’s off to our business. I work for John Wells and he’s been proactive in making our cast and crew and the writers’ room look like America… I work for a lot of women, I always have. Perhaps it’s the projects I choose.”
Later in the evening, Sterling K. Brown, who won the SAG Award for outstanding male actor in a drama (and shared the drama ensemble award with his whole “This Is Us” cast), said he has learned quite a bit in the past few months as the Time’s Up and Me Too movement has gained steam. “It has been a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the fact that I actually have privilege, and that I have male privilege,” he said. “And recognizing that I take a lot of things for granted.”
Brown recounted how, while attending NYU with his future wife, he would suggest taking the subway at midnight — not realizing how dangerous that would be for her.
“It’s always the responsibility of the minority to understand how to negotiate the majority’s world,” he said. “Black people have got to know how to live in a white world. Gay people have got to know how to live in a straight world. Women have to know how to live in a man’s world. But it’s nice when people who at the top take a second to look at and consider what it’s like for the minority. And what the Time’s Up movement has been for me is just taking stock of the fact that there are certain things that I have not registered and I can be more contentious. And hopefully, it registers with other men in a similar way, that things that are funny to you may not be funny to everyone. And that there is a responsibility that we have to make sure that our work environment is comfortable for all.
“Because it’s not always about maliciousness or nastiness, sometimes it’s just about downright thoughtlessness. And we can all stand to be a bit more thoughtful,” he added.