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Speaking out

Mila Kunis says producer told her she would ‘never work’ again if she didn’t pose for a men’s magazine

By WITW Staff on November 3, 2016

Mila Kunis says she was once told by a producer that she would “never work in this town again” after she refused to pose semi-naked for a men’s magazine cover as a means of promoting their film. In an opinion piece written for A Plus, Kunis explained that previously she had been willing to make such compromises. In that moment, she had to deal with the reality that standing her ground or speaking out could cost her career. That producer, Kunis said, had touched on “the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.”

“I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said ‘no,’” wrote Kunis.

Despite the producer’s threats, Kunis’ career has turned into a massive success. But the gendered bias didn’t end there. “Always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience …. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club.” In the end, however, Kunis says she realized that she was fooling herself. And by not standing up to that bias, as she did to the producer all that time ago, she “was complicit in allowing it to happen.”

So Kunis formed her own production company, alongside three other women, and began work to develop shows “with unique voices and perspectives.” And when a producer with whom they were working chose to present Kunis as “soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby momma” in an email to network executives, Kunis and her company immediately removed themselves from the project.

“It’s these very comments that women deal with day in and day out in offices, on calls, and in emails — microaggressions that devalue the contributions and worth of hard-working women,” Kunis explained. “I’m done compromising; even more so, I’m doing with being comprised.”

Read the full story at A Plus.


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