Rose Byrne Takes a Stand Against Hollywood Sexism

by ETonline Staff 7:57 PM PDT, May 21, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Add Rose Byrne to the ever-growing list of actresses speaking out against Hollywood sexism.

"It is beyond just misogyny," the Spy star told PrideSource in a new interview. "It's legitimate discrimination based on gender, which is illegal. Any discrimination is, whether it's sexuality, race or gender."

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On May 12, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) came down hard on Hollywood, filing grievances with both state and federal agencies regarding gender bias in film and on TV.

Citing the investigation, Byrne said, "The statistics are still so dreadful for women in film. Now the ACLU is ... starting to realize it's actually discrimination -- it's not just good ol' fashioned misogyny that everyone's quietly tolerated for years.”

"The business is sort of the wrong way in the sense that the statistics are just really dreadful for women in terms of speaking parts and paychecks for women," she continued, addressing concerns that Patricia Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal have also publicly expressed. "All that stuff that was leaked through the Internet when Sony was hacked -- it all speaks for itself."

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is currently "carefully" reviewing the allegations from the ACLU.

"Women directors aren't working on an even playing field and aren't getting a fair opportunity to succeed," said Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBT, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California. "Gender discrimination is illegal. And really Hollywood doesn't get this free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination."

To help level the playing field, Byrne has co-founded The Dollhouse Creative, a female-run production company with a focus on telling stories from a female perspective.

Next up for Byrne: Spy, Byrne's girl-power comedy with Bridesmaids co-star Melissa McCarthy, out June 5.

Read the full interview at PrideSource.

Check out Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy behind the scenes of Spy