For actresses struggling to keep their bills paid while laboring in anonymity, waiting for that elusive big break, Amy Adams might represent the realization of all their dreams. Talented, decorated, in-demand, and beloved, it would appear to the outside observer that she’s broken into the rarefied realm of Hollywood heaven. She’s worked with such prestigious directors as Paul Thomas Anderson, Mike Nichols, Steven Spielberg, and Spike Jonze, earned Academy Award nominations, and captured the hearts of audiences everywhere. But even at this level of dazzling success, all is not as it seems and even for stars at the tippity-top of the A-list, the indignity of institutionalized sexism is never far off.
Adams voiced her frustrations with injustices in the industry during a recent interview with GQ Britain, set to run next month. But GQ has released a pair of soundbites in advance of the piece, and one in particular, in which Adams speaks about knowingly being paid less than her male costars on 2013’s American Hustle, speaks volumes:
“Yeah, I did. I didn’t speak about it before and I’m probably not going to speak about it forever, because I disagreed with… not Jennifer per se, but people who had opinions on how women should go about negotiating. The truth is we hire people to negotiate on our behalf, men and women… I knew I was being paid less and I still agreed to do it because the option comes down to do it or don’t do it. So you just have to decide if it’s worth it for you. It doesn’t mean I liked it.”
In the quote, she makes passing reference to an incendiary essay penned by American Hustle‘s Jennifer Lawrence last year exposing the shameful culture of pay disparity alive and well in Hollywood, and Adams’ take on Lawrence’s highly visible, direct approach makes the pull-quote above all the more dispiriting. Lawrence, 25, reliably bankable, and pretty much the most famous actress on the planet at present, can afford to directly call out the men disrespecting her and her work. Adams’ remark about “how women should go about negotiating” speaks to an even more troubling truth: that when actresses go on record and speak out against Hollywood sexism, they may receive plaudits from the general public, but they run the risk of being frozen out of the biz. The ugly truth is that while everyone applauds a whistleblower, nobody wants to hire her, compounding the insidious culture at work in Hollywood. Noble work from Adams, to be sure, and hopefully it can spur some real change instead of putting a hash-mark on Adams’ resume for potential employers.
(Via GQ Britain)