Mila Kunis is the latest celebrity to point a vague yet strongly worded finger at the rampant sexism in Hollywood.
In an open letter titled “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again,” published on her husband Ashton Kutcher’s website A Plus – underwritten by Chicken Soup for the Soul, no less – Kunis takes an unnamed producer to task for telling her “You’ll never work in this town again” after she refused to pose “semi-naked” on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote her film.
“It’s what we are conditioned to believe — that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise,” she writes. “We don’t want to be kicked out of the sand box for being a “bitch.” So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining status quo and hope that change is coming.”
The letter continues to excoriate Hollywood’s big problem with sexism which ultimately led to her decision to form her own production company Orchard Farm Productions, in an attempt to sidestep the problem. But sexism isn’t that easy to avoid when it’s as insidious as it is in Hollywood. When Kunis and her team signed on with an influential male producer for a project meant to highlight inclusivity, she discovered that assholes really are everywhere, no matter how hard you try to avoid them.
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!!!”
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.
“I’m done compromising; even more so I’m done with being compromised,” she writes before vowing to address throwaway comments in the future as they happen. “I will address them head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate,” she says. An admirable task, but one that will probably exhaust her sooner rather than later.
Read the entire letter here.
Editor’s note: The word “stridently” has been replaced with “strongly” in the first sentence as it was used incorrectly. Jezebel regrets the error.