Sunday 22 September 2019

Treatment of women has taken a big step back – Dominic West

The actor and star of hit series like Sky’s The Affair will soon be seen in Les Miserables.

West stars as Jean Valjean in the BBC One adaptation (Robert Viglasky/BBC)
West stars as Jean Valjean in the BBC One adaptation (Robert Viglasky/BBC)

By Kerri-Ann Roper, Press Association Entertainment Editor

Dominic West has said the treatment of women in television has “taken a big step back in the past 20 years”.

The British star of series like The Wire and The Affair will soon be seen playing Jean Valjean in BBC One’s adaptation of Les Miserables.

West, 49, told the Radio Times magazine: “Treatment of women has taken a big step back in the past 20 years.

“Particularly in television, which has become more pornographic and the burden of that falls squarely on young women. Things like Game of Thrones, where you get a pair of bare breasts every five minutes… I mustn’t say this, but…”.

The actor continued: “I’m fairly sure that 20 years ago young actresses would not have had pressure put on them to take their clothes off. The parts young actresses get, particularly pretty ones, involve violent rape.

“When I think about my daughter going into the profession… I’m just really glad that #MeToo has started to counteract what has happened in the past 20 years.”

Earlier this year his co-star from The Affair, Ruth Wilson, told the Radio Times she believed she still earned less than him for the series.

West said: “I never asked what the money is on a show. It was more a question of if I wanted to do it. So it woke me up to the issue. I never realised the disparity and the injustice.”

He also hailed the Me Too movement for the many positive changes it has sparked.

Dominic West is this week’s Radio Times cover star (Radio Times).

He told Radio Times: “One thing that’s happened is a positive discrimination in favour of female directors.

“But the main thing is that unacceptable behaviour from male directors or actors is now either not possible, or you can call them out on it.

“There was one guy in particular whose behaviour was disgusting. Particularly to young females in minor roles. I tried to counter it on several occasions.

“But now, it wouldn’t be so hard to get rid of them.”

The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times. 

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