Susan Sarandon Calls Out Hollywood for Awarding ‘Mediocrity’
Susan Sarandon has never missed an opportunity to speak out about issues in Hollywood like gender disparity, sexism, abuse, and the #MeToo movement. At a screening of her documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Sarandon took some time to call out Hollywood for constantly awarding “mediocrity” and attempted to parse the industry’s complicated relationship with gender and sex.
While singing the praises of Lamarr, the actor who invented the technology during World War II that paved the way for Bluetooth and wifi, Sarandon noted that,
It’s certainly not a requirement to be smart in my business. ... Mediocrity is rewarded time and time again. A lot of the time you’re hired because you don’t ask questions. It takes more time to ask questions, it takes more time to fight for something with integrity.
Sarandon explained the complicated relationship Hollywood has with sex, and said that there exists a fine line between an actor using their looks to get work and an executive using their power over an actor to get them to do something they don’t want.
It’s very complicated, in my business especially, because it’s all about your sexual currency. Whether you actually deliver to anyone in charge to get a job that way – people hire women they want to be with and men they want to be. And anyone that falls in-between is a character actor.
I think that we can’t condemn someone, we can’t slut-shame somebody for embracing their seductiveness. But, at the same time, you wanna have enough power and economic stability to able to say no, to not be in a Harvey Weinstein situation where your work is held hostage and you're forced to do things you don’t want to do.
I’m not an actor, and I’m certainly not as seasoned as Sarandon, but that seems like a very depressing, outdated way to look at the industry. I feel like very few actors would actually enjoy the thought of being hired for a job because whoever was in charge of it was basing their choices purely on physical attraction. Maybe if we had more women and people of color in power who respect actors for the job they do instead of the fantasies they inspire, we wouldn’t find ourselves in these situations.