Lovecraft Country's Jurnee Smollett is speaking out against the bad behavior she's been affected by throughout her career, including pay discrimination and sexual harassment, in a new Hollywood Reporter profile.
Like many women, Smollett has faced pay discrimination, including on the set of WGN America's Underground, despite being a co-lead with Aldis Hodge.
"Why give me that and then give me less money than my male counterpart? It's wild," she said.
For Lovecraft Country, Smollett is getting paid just as much as her male co-stars in part because of Reese Witherspoon's call to HBO to end pay discrimination for women. It also seems like Lovecraft Country is also a set without many of the harassment issues Smollett has, unfortunately, become too familiar with throughout her career.
"I don't know that I can confidently say that I worked on one job prior to Lovecraft--from the time I was 12 on--where I hadn't been sexually harassed, whether it was by an AD, a co-star, director, producer," she said. "...Like, a guy saying before we're about to do this love scene, 'Hey, your tits are going to be hanging in the wind,' is not okay."
One time on a set, she was harassed so badly that she asked to be let go. "And they let me out," she said, citing that her agent told her something to the effect of "He's just being a man," a statement that still angers her.
Smollett is proud that today, there are more Black women leading the charge for equity within the industry. "[W]e're no longer asking for a seat at the table," she said. "We're building our own motherf---king table."
Lovecraft Country debuts on HBO Aug. 16.