When it comes to misogyny in Hollywood, there appears to be no shortage of examples. Why just this week alone, Elizabeth Banks recalled how the first agent she met in Hollywood told her she should get a boob job, and Alison Brie spoke about how she was once asked to strip to her bikini top (while already wearing some extremely short shorts) during an audition for a three-line role on Entourage.
And now, it appears Emmy Rossum has a similar story all her own.
The 30-year-old Shameless star recounted a time a year ago when her agent called to offer her a role in a “big movie” — only to tell her that she would have meet the director at his office while dressed in a bikini to get it.
” ‘There’s no audition. That’s all you have to do, ‘ ” Rossum revealed to The Hollywood Reporter during their annual roundtable chat with TV comedy actresses, repeating her agent’s words.
Not assuming she was being objectified at first, Rossum asked to see the script first — assuming the role might involve her being in a swimsuit. It didn’t. “Not in a bikini in the movie. Not naked in the movie,” Rossum said. No, despite the fact that she often does nude scenes on her critically-acclaimed Showtime show, Rossum explained the director just “wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question.”
” ‘We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your ass is,’ ” she said, summing up the ask. “Are you f—— kidding me? Last time I checked, I’m not a f—— model.”
The incident made Rossum concerned for younger actresses who might not be able to say no to a request like that. “I feel like we’re all vulnerable to it,” she said. “If somebody with my years in the business would think, ‘Well, I wonder if it’s worth it,’ then what would a girl who doesn’t have my success do? She would do it.”
RELATED VIDEO: Chrissy Metz on ‘This Is Us’, Crying on Set, and Her Body Positivity
The roundtable — including actress Minnie Driver, Kathryn Hahn and Issa Rae — all stood by Rossum. But Pamela Adlon followed with what might be an even more horrifying story.
The Better Things star recounted a story when she was filming an independent movie and a director tried to get her to go partially nude. She was 15 at the time, and her guardian — who was required to be there at the time — was off set.
“We did a scene where we broke into a house and then we go swimming in the pool,” Adlon, 50, remembered. “The scene is over, and I have a towel on, and the director comes over to me and he goes, ‘Pam, it would be really funny if you dropped the towel and we could just see your butt, like, really fast.’ ”
“I just didn’t know what the f— to do,” Adlon continued. “I was humiliated. And I found some strength of this me, now, where I said, ‘I don’t feel comfortable doing that.’ I was really upset that he even asked me because this is a grown man.”
While Adlon wasn’t forced to remove her towel in that scene, that didn’t stop her director from trying to get her to use her tongue while kissing one of her male costars in another scene. “I had never kissed a boy,” she said. “[The director] said to me, ‘An apple is an apple, a plum is a plum. A kiss isn’t a kiss without the tongue.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to die.’ “