Mila Kunis Illustrates Industry Wage Gap With Disheartening Story About Sexist Producers

Photo: Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock.
In a powerful and heartfelt personal essay, Mila Kunis announces that she refuses to be a cliché when it comes to being a female actress, mother, and entrepreneur. She wants to be treated and paid the same as her male counterparts, because, duh. The 33-year-old is an industry veteran, acting since she was 19 on both the big and small screen. She knows what she likes about Hollywood and what she doesn't. Her biggest complaint? The blatant gender bias that she says has barely improved over the years. She illustrates her point with a disturbing story about a pushy producer who told her point-blank that she would "never work in this town again" if she didn't subject herself to a semi-naked magazine cover shoot. "'I will never work in this town again?' I was livid," she writes. "I felt objectified and, for the first time in my career, I said 'no.' And guess what? The world didn't end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again." Kunis' fury acted as motivation for her future endeavors. With other female friends and colleagues, she created her own production company, only to be met by more casual sexism. She recalls one specific interaction that she feels speaks volumes at the ignorance of sexist men. "In the process of pitching this show to a major network, the typical follow-up emails were sent to executives at this network," she writes. "In this email chain, this [male] 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!!!' This is the entirety of his email. Factual inaccuracies aside, he reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children. It ignored my (and my team's) significant creative and logistical contributions." Yuck. It's difficult to imagine an email being sent about Kunis' husband, Kutcher, that merely qualifies him as "the husband to his former That 70s Show co-star, Kunis," in order for him to land a role. That would never happen, because it's absolutely irrelevant. This is a perfect example of powerful, domineering men that don't even realize they are consistently demeaning women. Kunis rightfully joins a growing alliance of celebrities who are doing their part to close the gender wage gap in Hollywood and beyond. They'll leave all the small-minded producers in the dust.

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