Emma Thompson calls out Hollywood sexism for women: 'You get past 50 and you're invisible'

David Oliver, USA TODAY
·2 min read

Emma Thompson called out Hollywood's hypocrisy of allowing men to get a pass to star opposite someone much younger than them, while women don't.

"You get past 50 and you're invisible," Thompson said during a conversation about female representation onscreen and sexism on the CultureBlast podcast.

"It's completely acceptable for George Clooney, who is delightful as you say, to have someone who's 40 years younger than him or 30 years younger than him. If I have someone playing opposite me in a romantic way they have to exhume someone, because I'm 61 now," Thompson added.

She spoke about her upcoming role in "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande," where she'll play a 55-year-old widow looking for sex. The male sex worker she finds is in his 20s.

"If the film that we make speaks to people and people aren't averse to seeing someone who's 61 largely naked, with a very much younger person, it's going be very interesting... We've got to keep being brave about that," she said.

Emma Thompson called out Hollywood's double standard of men getting a pass to star opposite someone much younger than them, while women don't.
Emma Thompson called out Hollywood's double standard of men getting a pass to star opposite someone much younger than them, while women don't.

The lack of meaningful representation for women in film is only part of a problem; a new report recently documented the lack of representation behind the scenes too.

A report from earlier this month showed that the percentage of women working on top-grossing films behind-the-scenes hasn't budged much over the last two decades – despite many a pledge to change the industry.

Overall, the percentage of female directors, writers, executive producers, producers, cinematographers on staff of top-grossing films was 21% in 2019, up from 17% in 1998.

The percentage of women directors only rose from 9% in 1998 to 13% in 2019, while the percentage of women cinematographers ticked up just 1% in the same period, from 4% to 5%. There has yet to be two consecutive years of increases in the percentage of women directors.

Review: Emma Thompson rules as the acerbic, awesome queen of Mindy Kaling's 'Late Night'

Ugh: Percentage of women working as film directors, producers hasn't budged much in 20 years, report says

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Emma Thompson talks Hollywood hypocrisy in sex scenes, George Clooney