Gillian Anderson Talks ‘X-Files’ Sexism and Gender Pay Gap

January 23, 2016

Gillian Anderson opens up about ‘The X Files’ and her iconic character Dana Scully and reveals the rampant sexism she was forced to confront — including thee disparity in pay between herself and co-star David Duchovny who portraying the equally iconic Fox Mulder.

 Gillian Anderson

Yes, ‘The X Files’ is back once again, as a six-episode miniseries, and one half of his famous duo has much to say about in the interview with ‘The Daily Beast.’ Yes, it’s a long, long interview with the now 47-year-old Gillian Anderson, and fans will savor every letter and comma. It’s more than a reminiscing about the good old days. In fact we find out that the old days weren’t always so good for her.

While the franchise itself, after 23 years, continues its living legacy even fraught with one hiatus after another as it moved from one iteration as hit series on Fox to a big screen sci-fi thriller and sequel. But even that was a long time ago.

Both she and the now 55-year-old David Duchovny have continued to portray those same characters over the years, respectively FBI Special Agents Dr. Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. And that’s been the crux of the popularity; the intense chemistry of the two who, while working partners and friends in the series, were much, much more in fan fiction even as the hoped for romance never materialized on screen.

Yet behind the scenes as fans were fantasizing, Anderson was getting shortchanged literally. She revealed that for three years, she wasn’t receiving equal pay and also noted how during those same years she was also, literally, not on equal footing with her co-star. As scenes were staged, she was not permitted to walk side by side with him. She was walking a few steps behind. Well, obviously, this evokes traditions of some cultures that don’t permit women to walk with men. There’s a clear message here.

Of that, Gillian Anderson said, “I can only imagine that at the beginning, they wanted me to be the sidekick.” Continuing her speculation, she added, “Or that, somehow, maybe it was enough of a change just to see a woman having this kind of intellectual repartee with a man on camera, and surely the audience couldn’t deal with actually seeing them walk side by side!”

Continuing, she said, “I have such a knee-jerk reaction to that stuff, a very short tolerance for that sh-t…I don’t know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, ‘F–k no! No!’ I don’t remember somebody saying, ‘OK, now you get to walk alongside him.’ But I imagine it had more to do with my intolerance and spunk than it being an allowance that was made.”

But what’s even more shocking is that now this time around, Gillian Anderson was faced with the same disparity in pay. Again, offered less than Duchovny for this new series, more than 20 years after the original. So much for progress since the previous century.

She went on to express surprise that this pay disparity — a story which The Hollywood Reporter first broke — had not been brought up in interviews. She said, “Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced.”

Speaking of her own challenge, Anderson said, “It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.”

Anderson also said, “Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.”

Reflecting upon the current climate and of how little has changed over the years, Anderson called it “sad,” and reiterated, “It is sad.”

There’s much more to the interview but, in the midst of the excitement of the return of ‘The X Files’ on television, this previously untold story needs to be told again. The gender pay gap talk isn’t just something that goes viral on social media when a major Hollywood star opens up, it’s a reality that too many are still facing at all levels.

See the full interview here; Anderson has much more to say; she reminisces about meeting David Duchovny and even weighs in, ‘X-Files’ government-conspiracy-theory-style about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election. Check out the official trailer of ‘The X Files’ miniseries below.

Pictures: PR Photos

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