British actor Benedict Cumberbatch has said that he will accept only those roles in which his female co-stars are paid equally. In an interview with Radio Times magazine, Cumberbatch said, “Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism. Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it.'”
Cumberbatch’s comments come when the American film industry is in a turmoil in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations against some of the bigshots of Hollywood, and the subsequent movements like Me Too and Time’s Up. These events and movements have launched a conversation about workplace sexual misconduct and general sexism that women face in Hollywood.
A while back, The Crown’s creators were forced to admit that Matt Smith, who played the role of Duke of Edinburgh in the Netflix show, was paid more than Claire Foy, who essayed the main role of Queen Elizabeth II. They had justified that by citing Matt’s stint on Doctor Who and had promised that in future the actress who plays the Queen will be paid more.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s production company comprises mostly women. He said, “I’m proud that [partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company; our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster. If it’s centered around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female!”
Cumberbatch recently appeared in Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. Currently, he can be seen in Patrick Melrose, a TV series based on Edward St Aubyn book of the same name that airs on Showtime in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK.