Eight days ago, actress Rose McGowan Tweeted a sexist and condescending casting note that came with an Adam Sandler script she was reading. “Casting note that came w/script I got today. For real. Name of male star rhymes with Madam Panhandler hahahaha I die,” she Tweeted, along with a screenshot of the note. It read, “Please make sure to read unattached script before coming in so you understand the context of the scenes.” The note requested that she wear “black (or dark) form fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push up bras encouraged). And form fitting leggings or jeans. Nothing white.”
Lately, Hollywood actresses have been increasingly pushing back against sexist standards in their industry, not only about the pressure to look sexy and youthful, but also in regards to the questions they’re being asked in interviews and how much they’re getting paid compared to their male counterparts.
McGowan’s Tweet slowly went viral over the next few days, but its full impact manifested Wednesday night in a surprising way. “I just got fired by my wussy acting agent because I spoke up about the bullshit in Hollywood. Hahaha. #douchebags #awesome #BRINGIT,” she Tweeted. Prior to her termination, she was represented by Sheila Wenzel and Steve Muller at Innovative Artists, a talent agency whose clients have included Amanda Seyfried, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, and Ashton Kutcher, before he became a household name. As reported by Variety, Innovative Artists is known for breaking relatively successful thespians into stars dujour—but looking at her outspoken voice, McGowan is becoming a household name without their help.
The actress, who was actually enrolled in beauty school when she started her career, is well known for her work in WB television series Charmed, her appearance in the original Scream, and Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double feature Grindhouse. Using her influence and experience to expand into other areas in the industry, McGowan made her directorial debut with a short film called Dawn, which takes on the male gaze, at Sundance in 2014, and will be directing her first feature film, The Pines, in the fall.
Other Hollywood actresses who have been rebelling against the film industry’s status quo include Reese Witherspoon and Patricia Arquette, who joined The Representation Project’s #AskHerMore campaign, which challenges interviewers to inquire beyond the dress and manicure on the red carpet—during the 2015 Oscars. “There are 44 nominees this year that are women and we are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we’ve done. It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood, or any industry,” said Witherspoon. The infamous Sony hacks of 2014 also highlighted that female actresses were paid much less than their male counterparts: Amy Adams, who has four Academy-Award nominations, and blockbuster star Jennifer Lawrence, both made significantly less than their American Hustle co-stars, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner. Charlize Theron used this leaked knowledge to negotiate for equal pay to her co-star Chris Helmsworth, in the upcoming film, The Huntsman.
Most recently, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, who star in Netflix’s series, “Grace and Frankie,” made public that their supporting actors, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, were paid the same amount as them. “That doesn’t make us happy,” Fonda said on Netflix press day. “The show is not ‘Sol and Robert,’” said Tomlin, referring the names of Sheen and Waterson’s characters. “It’s 'Grace and Frankie.’”
McGowan added in a subsequent Tweet: “The awesome thing about being an artist? You can’t be fired from your own mind. #FREEDOM.” And with more of her directorial projects looming in the near future, McGowan will be sharing more of her voice behind the camera—no “form fitting tank” required.