‘We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your ass is.’
Right after Alison Brie revealed her sexist Entourage audition, another famous television star has come forward with a gross Hollywood story. Emmy Rossum, the star of the American adaptation of Shameless, opened up to her fellow actresses about how she had been asked to show up at a director’s office – in a bikini.
During The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actress Roundtable, Emmy Rossum joined the likes of Speechless’ Minnie Driver, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera, Insecure’s Issa Rae amongst others to talk about what it’s like working in the industry. Rossum revealed that as recently as last year, she was still expected to objectify herself for a director – even though she was guaranteed the role.
She said, ‘My agent called me and was like, ‘I’m so embarrassed to make this call, but there’s a big movie and they’re going to offer it to you. They really love your work on the show. But the director wants you to come into his office in a bikini. There’s no audition. That’s all you have to do.’’
However Emmy’s mind didn’t initially jump to the sexist undertones and she revealed, ‘I actually had this moment like, ‘Well, how good is the part?’ For a second, I was like, ‘Would I do it? Send me the script. Maybe the character is in a bikini in the movie.’
There wasn’t any nudity or even a bikini in the movie, she later found out. She explained the director’s intentions, saying, ‘He wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question.’
The Shameless actress was recently involved in a short film series directed by David Schwimmer, revolving around the theme of sexual harassment in the workplace. In her short named The Politician, she plays a journalist interviewing a politician who makes advances on her.
While she did say that she’s never had to ‘do something really obviously physical in exchange for [a job]’, she also discussed how it wasn’t an unusual experience for women in Hollywood. Despite her impressive career record and acting chops, even she felt the pressures of sexism in the industry.
She said, ‘I feel like [all actresses] are vulnerable to it. 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.’
Her story clearly resonated with the other women around the table. Pamela Adlon from Better Things chipped in with her own experience, where a director asked her to flash her naked butt to the camera. The same director also told her during a kissing scene that, ‘A kiss isn’t a kiss without the tongue.’ She was just 15 at the time.
Emmy Rossum’s fight for equal pay with her male Shameless costar William H. Macy was the focus of media attention last year. While the studio offered her equal pay, she then asked for a higher salary to make up for the seven seasons of inequality and they eventually agreed. Her character, Fiona Gallagher, is the cornerstone of the show and she has also taken a more active role directing select episodes.
However, it seems like her success unfortunately can’t stand on its own merit with some people. Mocking the man who wanted to see her in a bikini, she said, ‘We really love your work but we just want to see how tight your ass is.’ Are you fucking kidding me? Last time I checked, I’m not a fucking model.’