Salma Hayek says male actors need to take pay cuts to fix the gender pay gap in Hollywood. (Reuters: Regis Duvignau)
Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, a vocal campaigner against sexual harassment in the movie industry, says male stars should get less pay as a way to even things up with chronically underpaid women.
- Hayek says it’s necessary for male actors to take pay cuts to achieve gender equality in the industry
- She also said Harvey Weinstein specifically rejected her and Lupita Nyong’o’s accusations because they are women of colour
- The comments come one day after actresses staged a red carpet protest calling for greater representation
A day after joining dozens of other female movie makers, including Jane Fonda and Cate Blanchett, at a demonstration at the Cannes Film Festival in support of the struggle for women’s rights, Hayek told a media conference:
“The actors have to say: ‘OK, time’s up. I had a good run but now it’s also time to be generous with the actresses in the films.’
“If actors ask such inflated fees it will leave nothing for actresses. If the movie’s budget is $10 million, the [male] actor has to understand that if he is making $9.7m, it is going to be hard for equality,” Hayek added.
“Otherwise they will kill the movie.
“We all have to be part of the adjustment. That’s one idea. I’m going to be hated for it. I hope I can get a job after this!”
The issue of equality has been a running theme throughout the Cannes film festival, which is the first to take place since sexual harassment allegations against some major Hollywood players surfaced last year.
Hayek has become one of the leading voices in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
In one of the most vivid accounts of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment, Hayek said the mogul became her nightmare with relentless advances and a death threat.
“For years, he was my monster,” Hayek wrote in an op-ed published in December by The New York Times.
Hayek accused Weinstein of threatening to “break my kneecaps” after she spurned his advances on the set of her film Frida.
Her refusals of massages, showers and sex enraged him, she wrote, adding: “I don’t think he hated anything more than the word ‘no’.”
Weinstein at the time issued a lengthy statement of denial.
Speaking at Cannes, Hayek said Weinstein specifically contested her claim and that of Lupita Nyong’o because they are women of colour.
“It was a strategy by the lawyers, because we are the easiest to get discredited,” Hayek said.
“It is a well-known fact, if you are a woman of colour, people believe what you say less. So he went attacking the two women of colour, in hopes that if he could discredit us, he could then maybe discredit the rest.”
Hayek was among 82 women who took part in a red carpet protest on Saturday.
The 51-year-old said the protest, against female underrepresentation at Cannes and beyond, had been “very meaningful … as a woman [who] has had to go through all the struggles that all women have to go through”.
In the wake of the scandals that have followed Weinstein’s downfall, Hayek said men in Hollywood “are terrified” and that “predators are hiding”.
But she said the #MeToo movement also is a great time for men “to rethink what it means to be a man”.
“This is a new era for men,” Hayek said.