Meryl Streep calls gender inequality amongst film critics "disheartening" at London Film Festival premiere of Suffragette

By Michael Miller
Updated October 07, 2015 06:00 PM
Credit: Getty

Meryl Streep is fighting for women’s rights both on and off the screen.

The Oscar-winning actress campaigns for women’s right to vote in her new film Suffragette, and spoke out against modern sexism at the BFI London Film Festival premiere on Wednesday.

“The word isn’t ‘disheartening,’ it’s ‘infuriating,'” Streep said, taking aim at what she says is a case of gender inequality in professional film criticism, citing the popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes as a main offender.

“I went deep, deep, deep, deep into Rotten Tomatoes, and I counted how many contributors there were – critics and bloggers and writers,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“And of those allowed to rate on the Tomatometer, there are 168 women. And I thought, ‘that s absolutely fantastic.’ And then, if there were 168 men, it would be balanced. If there were 268 men, it would unfair but I d get used to it. If there were 368, 468, 568 … Actually there are 760 men who weight in on the Tomatometer.”

Streep also claimed that within the New York Film Critics, there are 37 men and only two women. However, the New York Film Critics Circle lists six women out of 31 critics on their membership page.

“I submit to you that men and women are not the same. They like different things. Sometimes they like the same things, but their tastes diverge. If the Tomatometer is slided so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the U.S., absolutely.”

In the film, Streep plays Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the women’s rights movement in Britain before and after World War I, who was a proponent of using acts of civil disobedience to accomplish her goals.

While the film takes place at the beginning of the 20th century, Streep points out that there are still places in the world where women can’t vote – including the Vatican.

“I mean the Church is a body that excludes people,” she said, according to The Daily Beast. “There are two places you can t vote in the world – in Saudi Arabia, although they are registering people supposedly, and the Vatican. That seems wrong to me.”

Suffragette hits theaters on Oct. 23.