Geena Davis calls Hollywood gender imbalance an ‘embarrassment’

The under-representation of women in Hollywood behind the camera is an “embarrassment”, American actor and activist Geena Davis said at France’s Deauville Film Festival. Davis, who starred in the cult classic Thelma and Louise with Susan Sarandon, criticised the Hollywood gender gap from the red carpet of the festival, where she was promoting her new documentary. This changes everything on gender inequality. “I think I heard today that in France it’s 24 per cent are female directors, and in the United States only four per cent. I mean, 24 is not good enough either, but four per cent is an embarrassment,” she told the reporters. The documentary, produced by Davis and directed by Tom Donahue, features interviews with Hollywood actors including Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain and Tiffany Haddish, and examines gender discrimination in the media and entertainment industry. She said that earlier in her career female actors were discouraged from speaking out by being told there would always be someone else willing to take their roles. Davis, who also founded the nonprofit research group The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, recently revealed that she was once forced to sit on a director’s lap for a romantic scene during an audition.