Actress Salma Hayek has a message for her male counterparts claiming to be pro-“equality”: It’s time to take some pay cuts.
Hayek has become one of the more vocal leaders of Time’s Up, the Hollywood follow-up to #MeToo, which has issued a series of demands on the industry to promote gender equity, diversity, and inclusion, among other social justice-oriented reforms. Hayek is one of the many accusers of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whom she says threatened to “break my kneecaps” after she rejected his sexual overtures.
While much of the reform rhetoric has been aimed at executives and producers, Hayek made clear at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend that “it is the actors too” who have to make some personal sacrifices if they want to truly get on board the Time’s Up agenda.
“Time’s up. You had a good run but it is time now to be generous with the actresses,” Hayek told a Women in Motion talk at the Cannes Festival, where she led a group of women down the red carpet in a march of MeToo/Time’s up solidarity.
“If actors ask such inflated fees it will leave nothing for actresses,” she said, AFP reports. “If the movie’s budget is $10 million, the actor has to understand that if he is making $9.7 million, it is going to be hard for equality. Otherwise they will kill the movie.”
“I will be hated for saying this,” she said, adding jokingly, “I hope I can get another job.”
Since the #MeToo movement kicked into high gear, she said, she’s been able to sell a number of female-led projects she’d been unable to sell for a decade. But while there’s already been notable progress, she urged the women to be “impatient” for change, particularly over “pay disparity.”
“They still want to pay you the exploitative salary they paid you before,” she said, adding that women “should have been angrier” and “come together” sooner to force change.
Many men in Hollywood are “terrified,” she said. “The predators are hiding. You feel this very palpable atmosphere.”
But while she’s calling for a reduction in pay to male stars and more women taking jobs often handed to men, she said men should embrace this “exciting time” because they have the chance now “to rethink what it means to be a man, and this comes with a lot of freedom.”