Emma Thompson Says Hollywood Sexism Is Worse Than Ever

Emma Thompson Hollywood Sexism
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Emma Thompson thinks that the movie industry has regressed when it comes to its treatment of women.

Thompson, who’s never one to mince words, said Hollywood sexism is “still completely s—.”

“I don’t think there’s any appreciable improvement, and I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young,” Thompson said in an interview with U.K. magazine Radio Times. “So no, I am not impressed, at all. I think it’s still completely s—, actually.”

Thompson, whose roles range from “Nanny McPhee” to “Saving Mr. Banks,” said she used to be hopeful, but has since come to realize that the situation is grim.

“When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world,” she said. “And when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women, and I find that very disturbing and sad.”

Thompson joins the likes of actors Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who have recently decried Hollywood’s gender gap, denouncing the sexism in the industry and lack of film roles for older women.

“I get behind as many young female performers as I can, and actually a lot of the conversations with them are about exactly the fact that we are facing and writing about the same things and nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent,” Thompson said.

Thompson plays a 77-year-old prostitute in her latest film, “The Legend of Barney Thompson,” which she admits is “a bit ageist” as she’s only 56.

“It would be really nice to get someone who is actually 77 to play her, but it’s a wildly comic role and I couldn’t resist,” she said.

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  1. There are amazing roles out there for women both in front of and behind the cameras. But they aren’t in the studio system. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to get what you want. But there is the rub. Women want all the security and perks of the studio system, which pigeonholes women into the expectations of the patriarchal leadership. If women started working together, sharing their talents and resources like the good old boys club, there isn’t anything we couldn’t accomplish. It just takes a leap of faith. It’s easy to point out the problem. But complaining without action is just whining.

  2. Chris Kardshians Yes
    Hollywood E! New

  3. Adiru Caroline Josline says:

    the issue of sexism in movie industry in Africa is worse,you can only get a role in a movie based on sexism,most times a woman’s passion for acting does not count unless they have “connections”…… i beleive African movie is far from the top simply because those without “connections” have no chance to showcase their abilities.

  4. Susan Moran says:

    It seems so disingenuous that the industry coddle & revears LGBT but is still hobbled by sexism & ageism. Time for reflection. If only Fellini were here to tackle the subjects.

  5. Sheels says:

    Because you’re older and not as much of a draw? Are you crazy, Emma. Probably.

  6. Bill B. says:

    Doesn’t seem to be damaging Meryl Streep any. She works constantly and it is always quality stuff.

  7. i respect Emma, but are we really supposed to believe that sexism is worse NOW in 2015 than it was in the 1940’s and 1950’s era of film?

    What she, and other actresses are talking about it pay. Men get paid more. Except of course when J Law makes double Chris Pratt. Then it doesn’t count. Or when Streep makes double her male co-star.

    Why? Because those women are the draw!

    The film business doesn’t judge pay on you doing the job. A day player actor doesn’t get paid less b/c he’s not a good actor. He doesn’t get paid as well b/c his name brings no value. It’s not always based on degrees of talent. An actor/director/writer is paid by their value in the world. Adam Sandler doesn’t make $20M b/c he a great actor. He makes a ton of $ b/c his films make a ton of $.

    Michael Bay isn’t the highest paid director b/c he’s good. It’s b/c his films make $$$. Lots of $$$.

    And how different is Hollywood than other industries? One plumber can charge $100 bucks to fix a leaky pipe, another charges $200. Same pipe, yet one company charges more for the same job? Why? A conspiracy? Or does that company have a better reputation? Etc.

    The point is while 2 actors may have identical jobs on a set, their value & worth to the production might be different. Should Renee Zellweger have been paid the same as Tom Crusie on JERRY MAGUIRE? Conversely, should the kid from the Blind side have been paid as much as Sandra Bullock?

    • Sheels says:

      Sex-ism is a joke. It’s an excuse for the lack of ability and achievement. You notice how the most successful people don’t bitch and moan like has-beens, or never-were’s?

    • YOU made this about money, not Emma. Sexism on set and lack of roles for women really isn’t the same as “who gets paid more” although the pay is certainly an issue (See leaked Sony emails). Is it possible for you to address the issue that Emma discussed instead of going on and on about an interpretation of it that you made up and she made no mention of?

      Is it possible that sexism now in Hollywood is worse now that more women are seeking roles that before they did not? That could explain why it seems worse – women are looking for more involvement than ever before.

      That a handful of actresses continue to work into their mature years is no indication of a change in availability of roles and jobs for women when IMDB is full of women whose careers stalled out for no other reason than their age.

  8. Anonymous says:

    And David Krumholtz is playing an elderly woman in an upcoming “comedy” taking a role away from an actress that could use it. It’s lame.

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