William H. Macy has been criticized for sharing his perspective as a male actor in the time of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements after winning his third career SAG award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.
Macy, who won a SAG award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series for his work in Shameless, told reporters backstage on Sunday night that “it’s hard to be a man these days.”
“I think a lot of us feel like we’re under attack, and that we need to apologize, and perhaps we do, and perhaps we are,” he said, reflecting on the current climate in Hollywood. “But we’ll keep talking. To repeat, I’m blessed that I’m in this business.”
“We had a meeting, a bunch of guys got together, under the auspices of Time’s Up — and that’s good for men,” he continued. “Men don’t talk enough. Men don’t talk to other men, and we talked. What the hell — a little bit can’t hurt you.”
When Macy was asked what advice he would give a young, up-and-coming actor about how to conduct himself, he said the question was “really, really, really complicated.”
“Because on one hand, in what we do for a living, we’ve got to be free to speak the unspeakable and try things, so I hope it doesn’t throw a wet blanket on things and I don’t believe it will because half of the business is women and they’re smart and they’re hip,” he said.
“I have two daughters, and I feel girls are ascendant, and I’m thrilled for them,” he said. “It’s a good time to be a girl. And I’m proud of this business, because such things as safety in the workplace — I think that’s done. We’re not going back. It’s changed. It changed in an instant, and it’s not going back.”
“When it comes to equality and pay, it’s inevitable and it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen quickly,” he continued. “My hat’s off to our business. I work for John Wells, and he’s been proactive in making our cast and crew and the writer’s room look like America. He’s been proactive about that for a long time. I’ve worked for a lot of women. I always have. Perhaps it’s the projects I choose. It’s all good.”
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Macy has spoken out about equal pay many times. When Emmy Rossum threatened to leave Shameless if she didn’t receive pay equal to that of her costar Macy, he was nothing but supportive.
Shameless star Rossum had a salary standoff with Warner Bros., which caused a delay for the Season 8 renewal of the Showtime drama.
When Rossum joined the cast of Shameless in 2011, her salary was significantly lower than her co-star, Macy. Speaking out about the issue, Rossum said it made perfect sense that she was paid less than Macy at the time because it was her first TV show.
At the 2017 Vulture Festival, Rossum revealed that Macy was one of her biggest supporters. She told the panel, “It’s unconscionable they would pay a woman less for the same job.”
“It’s show biz’s job to get us for as cheaply as they can — and our job to say no,”she said. Macy went on to point out that Rossum’s character, Fiona, is truly the centre of the show.
Macy beat out GLOW’s Marc Maron, black-ish’s Anthony Anderson, Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David and Master of None’s Aziz Ansari for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series on Sunday evening.
During his acceptance speech, he thanked his fellow nominees.
He continued: “Even though our lines and the stories we’re told are given to us by writers, it’s our job, under those imaginary circumstances, to find the truth. And I think it’s a glorious way to make a living, especially in this day and age when so many people either can’t recognize the truth, or don’t think it’s important.”
Many people took to Twitter to criticize Macy for his comments at the SAG Awards.
Watch Macy back stage at the SAG Awards in the video above.