Jennifer Lawrence Says She Was 'Punished' for Defending Herself: 'The Director Said Something F**ked Up'
By Desiree Murphy
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jennifer Lawrence is speaking out about sexism in Hollywood once again.
During The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, the 27-year-old actress explains what it was like standing up for herself and bringing attention to Hollywood's pay gap when she wrote a piece for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter last October.
"I finally made the decision to stand up for myself, and then I went to go to the bathroom at work and one of the producers stopped me and was like, 'You know, we can hear you on the microphone, you've been really unruly,'" she recalls. "Which was not true, but basically my job was threatened because the director said something f**ked up to me and I said, 'That's sick, you can't talk to me like that.'"
"And then I was punished," she continues. "I got afraid that I wasn't going to be hired again. I was called 'difficult' and a 'nightmare.'"
Lawrence says that in the entertainment industry, a lot of people don't come forward when something is off or feels wrong because "they're afraid they're not going to work again."
"You need to be able to say, 'This is wrong' and have somebody do something about it instead of saying, 'Oh, it's wrong? Well, you're fired,'" she suggests.
Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, Mary J. Blige, Alison Janney and Saoirse Ronan also joined Lawrence at the Roundtable, where they discussed how the entertainment industry may never be the same following the horrific stories about sexual harassment that have recently come to light.
"There is a history of abuse against women in our industry, and it's never been addressed," Chastain says. "I'm devastated by all the stories that have come out because it's heartbreaking, but at the same time I feel hopeful because we're not ignoring it anymore."
"The big misconception, though, is that this is just in the entertainment industry," Lawrence adds. "Once again, the entertainment industry is kind of the stage on which you can see the inner workings of problems that are all over the world. If a flight attendant comes forward about a pilot, it doesn't end up in the news because nobody knows about it. That doesn't mean that there's less sexual abuse going on anywhere else in the world, in any other place of work. But fortunately, we're starting the conversation now."
At the end of the day, however, Lawrence believes it's "going to be a while" before we see a significant change in culture.
"It's deeply ingrained, unfortunately," she explains. "It's kind of this social proof in some way of your masculinity."
"I believe that things will change because this is making other women say, 'Me too,' 'Me too,' 'Me too,'" adds Blige, who stars as Florence Jackson in the upcoming drama Mudbound. "It keeps happening every day because people are tired of sitting around with that secret that holds them prisoner. Women have been going through this since they were children."
Stone chimed in, admitting she is one of those people who often "holds a lot in" and "gets really nervous to speak."
"We have to recognize that there are so many who haven't told their stories yet, who aren't comfortable to share," she says. "I feel so much compassion for those who are still getting up and going to work every day with their abuser or have had abuse in their past and who are not ready to say anything. And putting pressure on women to share it, you know, 'If you're not saying it now, then you're complicit in this evil that's occurring,' isn't fair."