Emma Thompson says the acting industry is more sexist today than it was when she first started out in Hollywood

By Char Adams
Updated July 21, 2015 04:30 PM
Credit: Julian Parker/Getty

Emma Thompson has added her voice to the chorus of dissent over the entrenched sexism in Hollywood.

The two-time Oscar winner says sexism and ageism are more prevalent today than when she first started out in the acting industry more than 30 years ago.

“I think it’s still completely s— actually,” the 56-year-old actress told Radio Times magazine in a new interview.

The Sense and Sensibility star claimed there has been no substantial improvement in the industry’s treatment of women, and that the focus on looks is “worse than it was” when she was young.

The British actress recalled her early days in the acting industry when, she said, she believed “we were on our way to a better world.”

“When I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women, and I find that very disturbing and sad,” she said.

Thompson admitted in the interview that her most recent film, The Legend of Barney Thompson – in which she plays a 77-year-old prostitute – “is a bit ageist.”

“It would be really nice to get someone who is actually 77 to play her,” Thompson said of the role, “but it’s a wildly comic role and I couldn’t resist.”

Thompson is among a slew of actresses who’ve recently spoken out against Hollywood’s gender double standards, following takedowns by Anna Kendrick, Amanda Seyfried and Patricia Arquette.

Now a veteran in the industry, Thompson lamented that “some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent,” she told Radio Times.

“So I get behind as many young female performers as I can,” she explained, “and actually a lot of the conversations I have with them are about exactly the fact that we are facing and writing about the same things and nothing has changed.”