Actress Sienna Miller praises the #MeToo movement as she details her own experiences with sexism and gender pay disparity in the entertainment business.
Addressing the United Nation’s annual meeting on gender equality in New York City, convened by The Guardian, U.N. Women and the Norwegian government, Miller - who’s starred in films such as Layer Cake and Burnt - began by praising the movement’s achievements so far, and making it clear she’s had “enough”.
“I have really just had enough. Enough of being undervalued, enough of being undermined, enough of being disrespected, because of my gender,” Miller says, before detailing her decision to walk away from work due to gender inequality.
“A few years ago I was offered a gutsy, powerful role in a play that was close to my heart. It was a two-hander on Broadway, but I was offered less than half what my male co-star was being paid,” she says.
“The decision to turn down this particular role was difficult and lonely. I was forced to choose between making a concession on my self-worth and dignity and a role that I was in love with. It turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life,” she says. “Not because I did it. But because I didn’t.”
Miller also spoke of her admiration for fellow actresses, such as Reese Witherspoon, in being instrumental in the success of the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative so far - with a belief that it will help women everywhere, regardless of income or industry.
“I believe in women who feel strong enough to say no to injustices, to speak up and share their stories and create change,” Miller says.
“For me, the strongest significance of the Time’s Up movement is that, by bringing to light the darkest moments of some of the most powerful women in Hollywood, it sends a message to those who admire and listen to them … This message is that sexual harassment happens to everyone, even those who we think are untouchable because of their fame or celebrity status. It sends the message that being treated unfairly cannot be an intrinsic part of being a woman.”
She continued: “The revolution is really here.”
Miller also spoke of her treatment from the paparazzi in the UK when she was younger, which led her to successfully fight for a change in privacy laws – and won. She described being constantly harassed by male photographers “15 camera-armed men” as well as being “judged and vilified in ways that never would have happened” if she were a man. “I fought back,” she says. “I got privacy law changed.”
In 2008, Miller sued Darryn Lyons and his company, Big Pictures photo agency, claiming harassment and invasion of privacy.
You can read more on the #MeToo movement here.