Hollywood actress Mila Kunis, who is married to Ashton Kutcher, was asked by a film producer to pose half-naked for a men's magazine to promote his film. When Kunis reportedly refused, the Hollywood producer told the star, "You'll never work in this town again."
Kunis has taken to Kucther's A Plus website to pen an open letter to the producer who threatened her. She wrote, "I was livid, 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. What this producer may never realise is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace. 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. We don't want to be kicked out of the sandbox for being a "bi*ch." So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining the status quo and hope that change is coming."
I was livid, 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.
The 33-year-old actress said she believed that she had been complicit in this process as well. She added: "Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy's club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realised that it's bullsh*t! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen."
I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy's club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realised that it's bullshit!
Kunis, a successful A-list star in Hollywood, wrote about how an influential male producer had referred to her as "soon to be Ashton's wife and baby momma", which prompted her to drop the project. Having had a first-hand experience at gender bias, Kunis empathised with women who are not as fortunate as her. "If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere. I am fortunate that I have reached a place that I can stop compromising and stand my ground, without fearing how I will put food on my table. I am also fortunate that I have the platform to talk about this experience in the hope of bringing one more voice to the conversation so that women in the workplace feel a little less alone and more able to push back for themselves," she writes.
The Black Swan actress also stated that she did not want to vilify the producer because 'blind gender bias' has been a part of society. But her message to him was, "I will work in this town again, but I will not work with you."