Mila Kunis has become the latest actor to blast the entertainment industry in an open letter, revealing a male producer threatened she would “never work in this town again” after she refused to pose semi-nude to promote a film.
In the letter, published on Ashton Kutcher (Kunis’ husband)’s website A Plus, the Bad Moms actor lamented the sexism she has experienced during her career, and how she was often “complicit” in it.
“I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club,” she wrote.
“But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realised that it’s bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.”
In one instance detailed in the letter, Kunis pushed back back against a producer who wanted her to pose semi-nude in a men’s magazine as part of a film’s press tour. She was told she would “never work in this town again” after giving what she described as the first “no” in her career.
“The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again,” she wrote.
“What this producer may never realise is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.”
Kunis formed television production company Orchard Farm Productions with three other women in October 2014. However, despite becoming a producer herself, the Ukrainian-born actor said she still finds herself turning down work due to some in the industry’s archaic attitudes towards women.
“Recently, we signed on to partner with an influential male producer on a project that would shine a light on an important social issue — ironically — inclusivity and our shared human experience,” she wrote.
“In the process of pitching this show to a major network, the typical follow-up emails were sent to executives at this network. In this email chain, this producer chose to email the following: ‘And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby momma!!!'”
Kunis’ team “withdrew” from the project.
Celebrity open letters of 2016:
Jennifer Aniston: ‘For The Record’
Huffington Post, July 12
Aniston responded to over a decade’s worth of pregnancy rumours.
Killer quote: “The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.”
Renee Zellweger: ‘We Can Do Better’
Huffington Post, August 5
The Bridget Jones actor denied she had been under the knife, and questioned how the social implications of the false story.
Killer quote: “The ‘eye surgery’ tabloid story itself did not matter, but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way. In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.”
Rose McGowan: Various
‘Open Letter To Scott Baio And Those Like Him’, The Talkhouse, July 21
McGowan laid into Happy Days actor Scott Baio after he called Hillary Clinton the C-word.
Killer quote: “If you can’t open your mind, at least stop hurting us, because if you slander one woman, you slander all.”
‘Vile, Damaging, Stupid And Cruel’, The Hollywood Reporter, July 6
McGowan responded to Variety critic Owen Gleiberman’s now infamous article, ‘Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself Has She Become a Different Actress?’
Killer quote: “I loathe fear. And this town is built on fear. Fear was instilled in me by the men and women of this town, just as I’m sure it was instilled in Ms. Zellweger. Fear of being blacklisted, fear of being branded difficult, fear of … fear of … fear of.”
‘Dear Hollywood’, Twitter, October 17
After alleging she had been raped by a studio head a few days prior, McGowan returned to Twitter to criticise her peers for continuing to work with known offenders.
Killer quote: “Do not work with those you know to be offenders or you are no better than they. Take a stand. You are culpable for your actions. Stop rewarding sociopaths.”