The Hollywood Reporter holds an annual roundtable that features actresses discussing their experiences in Hollywood. This year, the magazine asked Mary J. Blige, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence to share with the class. Because of the abundance of top-tier men being accused of abuse and sexual harassment, there was much to discuss.
“If a flight attendant comes forward about a pilot, it doesn’t end up in the news because nobody knows about it,” Lawrence said. “That doesn’t mean that there’s less sexual abuse going on anywhere else in the world, in any other place of work. But fortunately, we’re starting the conversation now.”
Lawrence, like many other actresses, hopes that the culture will eventually change. “I think it’s going to be a while,” she told the group. “It’s deeply ingrained, unfortunately. It’s kind of this social proof in some way of your masculinity.”
Lawrence is currently the highest paid actress in Hollywood, but the star has discussed wage inequality publicly after hearing that she and Amy Adams earned less than their American Hustle male co-stars.
“It’s much easier for me now to be paid fairly. The reason I spoke out about it was really—we’re in the industry, everybody is looking at us, if we’re going through this, every woman in the world is going through this. But the real problem is the normalization of it. It’s the reason why your agents don’t think twice about paying you a third of your [co-star’s salary] because it’s been so normalized for so long.”
Wage inequality isn’t the only form of gender discrimination Lawrence has faced at work.
“I’ve finally made the decision to stand up for myself, and then I went to go to the bathroom at work and one of the producers stopped me and was like, ‘You know, we can hear you on the microphone; you’ve been really unruly… Which was not true but basically my job was threatened because the director said something f–ked up to me and I said, ‘That’s sick, you can’t talk to me like that,’ and then I was punished, and I got afraid that I wasn’t going to be hired again. I was called ‘difficult’ and a ‘nightmare.'”
The actress believes that so many women aren’t coming forward because they fear not being asked back to work. Many women are fortunately standing up and speaking out, but there needs to be more. When something happens that’s wrong, someone needs to do something about it instead of saying, “you’re fired.”