×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Taraji P. Henson Urges for Equal Pay With Penis Joke at WIF’s Crystal + Lucy Awards

Taraji P. Henson brought down the house at Women in Film’s Crystal + Lucy Awards on Wednesday, talking about equal pay for women. “If I do just as good a job as men, why shouldn’t I get paid the same?” she said as the audience hooted in approval. “Is it because I don’t have a penis? In this day and age I can attach one. I have penises in many different colors at home.”

The honorees, who have been in the entertainment business for a couple of decades each, exhorted women to tell their stories, help each other out and stand up for their rights. Among the current topics addressed were Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the Orlando shooting and a ban on assault weapons.

Women in Film president Cathy Schulman started earlier in the evening at the Beverly Hilton by telling the guests, “Gender parity in Hollywood is important because what we see on the screen affects what decisions people make,” Schulman said. “We are the keeper of the stories; if we don’t include women we are not being fair.”

Natalie Dormer, the recipient of the Max Mara Face of the Future Award, which was presented by the company’s Nicola Maramotti, said she was “proud to be the Face of the Future during this time of change.”

CAA’s Hylda Queally received the Sue Mengers Award from Cate Blanchett, who tried to imitate an Irish accent and then did an Indian accent, confessing it was the only one she could do. “Like immigrants from many parts of the world, I was welcomed without a wall,” Queally said. She found there was no focus on international talent so she took it on, and today works with stars from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Kenya, India and Australia among other countries. “I not only represent them, I am their representative in the most liberal sense.”

Like many other speakers she said it was not about men vs. women. “This is not about one gender walking in front and another walking behind. It’s about both genders walking side by side.”

The BMW Dorothy Arzner Director’s Award honoree, Lesli Linka Glatter (“dubbed LL Cool G” by presenter Claire Danes) echoed that sentiment. “I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as my sons,” she said. Glatter also listed several bullet points for up-and-coming directors, including: “be tenacious, very tenacious, don’t pretend to know everything, know everyone’s name on the production from the first day, have a BS detector, wear comfortable shoes, reapply lipstick.”

Henson, who received the Lucy Award from Fox’s Dana Walden, had her own tip for rising talent: don’t listen to naysayers. Relating her history she said she “walked across the stage and received my degree with my son on my hip.” She didn’t listen when she was told a 26-year-old single mother couldn’t make it in Hollywood or that “black women can’t open a movie.”

She concluded: “Art is powerful, if we don’t have an example for humanity on the screen, what are we doing? That is how we change the world.”

The cap for the evening was the presentation of the Crystal Award to eight producers. Kate Beckinsale, who did the honors, said WIF couldn’t settle on just one and selected eight: Denise Di Novi, Lianne Halfon, Lynda Obst, Jane Rosenthal, Paula Wagner (whose award was collected by her husband, Rick Nicita, as she was shooting in Buffalo), Paula Weinstein, Lauren Shuler Donner and Lucy Fisher.

“Some of us are on our second career, second husband, second Crystal Award,” Donner said. “Above all, be the heroine of your story, not the victim,” she added, repeating a Nora Ephron quote.

In her speech, Rosenthal said, “Let’s put a woman in the White House, let’s ban assault weapons, let’s use our voices to tell stories.”

More Scene

  • Mj Rodriguez, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan

    Peabody Winners Talk Empowered Women and Social Justice Challenges on Red Carpet

    The theme on the red carpet at the 78th annual Peabody Awards? Empowering women. On Saturday, Peabody winners gathered at Cipriani Wall Street, and one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind was the wave of female empowerment spreading across the industry. From Peabody’s Career Achievement Award recipient Rita Moreno to shows like ‘Killing Eve’ [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

  • Taron Egerton Cannes Film Festival 2019

    Taron Egerton Addresses ‘Rocketman’ Comparisons to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Takes Subtle Jab at Bryan Singer

    Taron Egerton says that he’s flattered by comparisons between his Elton John musical “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” last year’s smash hit about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. “I’m proud that we’re mentioned in the same breath,” says Egerton, who plays John in the upcoming “Rocketman,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a five-minute standing [...]

  • Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale and Griffin

    BAM Gala Marks Leadership Change, Celebrates Brooklyn as 'Cultural Center of New York'

    Wednesday’s annual gala celebrating the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) served as a poignant moment of transition for the New York stalwart of contemporary performance. As long-time artistic director Joe Melillo, who along with Harvey Lichtenstein transformed BAM into a vanguard of progressive art, prepares to pass the torch to new leadership, gathered patrons and [...]

  • Dua Lipa Tom Jones

    Dua Lipa and Tom Jones to Perform at amfAR's Cannes Gala (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety‘s Marc Malkin is on the scene at the Cannes Film Festival. Get the scoop on all the news, parties and more straight from the Croisette below. AmfAR’s upcoming Cannes gala is shaping up quite nicely. Sources tell Variety that the evening will feature performances by Dua Lipa and Tom Jones. And they’re not the only [...]

  • "Deadwood" Cast Describes Emotional Homecoming on

    'Deadwood' Cast Describes Emotional Homecoming on the Historic Set

    The phrase “Welcome the f— back” marks the billboards and posters for the return of “Deadwood,” but that sentiment doesn’t just apply to the audience. Returning to the town of Deadwood was a homecoming of sorts for the cast and crew of the HBO show, who shared that stepping back into the meticulously recreated late-1800s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content