Masters of Sex star Michael Sheen has said that he would “absolutely” take a pay cut if it meant being paid the same as an actress.
Speaking yesterday at gender equality event March4Women in London, the actor said it was “absolutely imperative that no matter what the industry, no matter what the profession, that people should be paid the same for doing the same work.” The march took place hours before Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony which was dominated by the #MeToo and #Timesup movements and where Frances McDormand set the internet abuzz with her mention of the Inclusion Rider, a clause that allows actors to contractually demand 50% diversity on set.
Sheen’s comments come as the gender pay gap dispute is raging in the entertainment sector. In January, Mark Wahlberg donated $1.5M to charity after an outcry over the disparity in reshoot fees between male and female actors on All The Money In The World. Last month, The Affair star Dominic West said that his Golden Globe-winning co-star Ruth Wilson should be paid more than him after she voiced frustration over a supposed pay gap between the actors while six BBC presenters agreed to pay cuts after large disparities were revealed in male-female pay at the UK organization.
Meanwhile, an anonymously-created TV writer survey has been doing the rounds in Hollywood in a bid to achieve equal salaries. Last year, Oscar winner Emma Stone said that some of her male co-stars have taken pay cuts so their salary would be equal to hers. She didn’t name names.
Frost/Nixon actor Sheen said that the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns highlighted that there is “clearly a moment happening” but “we have to make sure that this doesn’t just remain a moment. “We have to look at what the systemic challenges are. Not just if there are individual monsters who have done terrible things. We have to each of us look at what our own individual responsibility is.”
Thousands took to the streets for the march including London Mayor and Donald Trump nemesis Sadiq Khan, the great grand-daughter of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Helen Pankhurst, actress Anne Marie-Duff, UK comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and singer Natalie Imbruglia. Suffragette star Duff read from Pankhurst’s acclaimed 1913 speech ‘Freedom or Death,’ a fitting rallying cry in this centenary year of UK women gaining the right to vote. UK Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her support to those on Sunday’s march, quoting Conservative MP Ken Clarke’s description of her as ‘a bloody difficult woman.’
Supporters at the event dressed in Suffragette sashes, carried banners with slogans such as ‘Deeds Not Words’ and ‘Bloody Difficult Women,’ while others dipped their shoes in paint to ‘make their mark.’ International Women’s Day is March 8.