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“They were dumb enough to make it clear”: Patricia Arquette’s equality Oscars speech has cost her work

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Amy Lewis
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Patricia Arquette has revealed that her rousing acceptance speech at the 2015 Oscars, which called for wage equality for every woman, has come with a disheartening price; less acting work in Hollywood.

Speaking at a Tribeca Film Festival event for female filmmakers, sponsored by the #ActuallySheCan campaign, Arquette confirmed that as a result of her speech she has been offered less work and even turned down for acting roles, despite winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress last year.

She also revealed that certain heavyweight producers and executives had made no mystery of the reason behind the rejection, adding: “some were dumb enough to say something that made it clear.”

Patricia Arquette

But despite taking a hit to her career, Arquette says she’s ‘OK’ about the price that has come with standing up for women’s wage equality. What's more, not only is she prepared to take one for the team, but she’s ready to carry on fighting, too.

“I’m OK. with that,” she said of being denied work, before adding: “Sometimes when you’re in a position to make a difference – to be a part of that story is a great thing.

“At my age, it’s a time in my life where I want to do things that make the world a better place for everyone to live in.”

Of how she would deal with the prospect of never working in Hollywood again, Arquette says she’s more than prepared to downsize and change her lifestyle, but luckily, hasn’t had to just yet.

“I thought, I could sell my house, I can downsize, I can live a different kind of way. That’s OK. It’s OK. if I don’t work anymore,” she says. “I would be sad because I want to make art, but if that’s what it takes, I guess that’s what it takes.”

Patricia Arquette

During her Oscars speech Arquette got a standing ovation, whoops and fist pumps from the likes of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez. Addressing the packed-out Dolby Theatre, she said:

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation… we have fought for everybody else's equal rights, it's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

The speech, delivered just after the infamous Sony email hack, prompted others including Jennifer Lawrence to also speak out on wage equality. Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Sienna Miller and more have since taken a stand against unequal pay rates in the business too, helping to bolster conversation around the gender pay gap in more general terms, outside of the movie industry.

At the filmmakers event, Arquette also described the openness that has historically surrounded higher male wages in acting. “I always knew I was paid less than men,” she notes. “They would be very clear about that, sometimes, when they would make offers to you: ‘Well, they’re paying the guy, so they don’t have any money’ – they would say things like that.”

But it seems nothing can dampen the fire for Arquette and her mission to bring about real change where the pay gap is concerned. She’s looking to unify the troops, men and women at all levels, with yet another call to arms.

“When we bring all of our energy together and we’re all bringing what we can to the table, we can have rapid evolution, and that’s what we need to do.

“They talk about the gender pay gap not closing for another 40 years. I mean, who’s got 40 years? I don’t have patience.”

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.

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