ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Just when you thought he was out, he's pulled himself back in.

That's right folks, Jeremy 'Hawkeye' Renner has been talking about serious and complicated issues involving gender roles again, and this time, he's...continued to not really seem to get it.

Now, with Renner's summer of press junketing for Avengers: Age of Ultron having been dominated by controversy, you'd have thought Renner would be avoiding outwardly controversial opinions for a little while, especially with Captain America: Civil War set to hit theaters soon.

As it turns out, though? Not so much. You see:

Jeremy Renner Just Revealed He's Not Going to Campaign for Equal Pay

Specifically, he doesn't want to fight for equal pay for women. In Hollywood. An industry which -- as Jennifer Lawrence recently pointed out in an awesome 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore'-style essay -- treats women as second class citizens, not only in terms of pay and opportunity, but also in the way in which they're spoken to in everyday life (even when as wildly successful as Lawrence).

Now, a wide range of Hollywood stars, including Emma Watson, Jessica Chastain and Rooney Mara, spoke out in support of Lawrence, but it was her frequent co-star Bradley Cooper's comments that seemed to make the biggest impression on social media, with the actor expressing interest in teaming up with female co-stars to negotiate pay deals together, before adding:

"Usually you don't talk about the financial stuff, you have people. But you know what? It's time to start doing that..."

Which Is Where Jeremy Renner Comes in

Renner was recently asked by Business Insider about both Lawrence and Cooper's comments -- what with him having starred with the two (alongside Amy Adams and Christian Bale) in 2013's American Hustle, and therefore presumably seeming a pretty obvious additional opinion to seek out. As it turns out, though, Renner -- who made more money from the movie than either Lawrence or Adams, despite the former having a similarly sized role to him, and the latter a much larger one -- very much isn't on board with Cooper's plan to help facilitate equal pay. As he put it:

"That's not my job...I don't know contracts and money and all that sort of stuff."

To which he added -- while noting that he does actually fully support female actors being paid an equal amount as their male counterparts:

"I'm a performer and I know human behavior. When it comes to that sort of stuff I let other people deal with that...I do what I'm good at, that's what I focus on."

Which, on one level, is fine. After all, Renner not only has every right to his opinion, but he shouldn't be forced to involve himself in direct social action if he doesn't want to. What's more, he is actually saying that he's in favor of social change, he's just expressing an unwillingness to take part in bringing it about.

The problem being that it's attitudes like that which allow something the vast majority of us can see is ridiculous and unfair -- like women being paid, on average, 77 cents compared to each dollar a man earns -- to continue to exist. While the merits of Cooper's stance (there are some who argue that 'male allies' taking the lead as Cooper is suggesting does just as much harm as good) can be debated, it's surely preferable to someone leaving a note saying "I agree with your position" and then burying their head in the sand.

With institutional sexism -- and that's very much what the gender pay disparity in Hollywood, and in pretty much every industry around, is -- being so firmly embedded in our culture, voicing mild, passive opposition sadly isn't enough to actually change anything. Standing up and being counted, though -- as Lawrence, Chastain, Watson, Mara and Cooper are -- as well as actively fighting for change in whatever way you can, just might be.

It's a shame, then, that someone as clearly well-intentioned as Renner, with so public a pulpit to speak from, hasn't realized that yet. He might not be able to change the world alone, much as none of us can -- though you kind of get the feeling Jennifer Lawrence is going to give it a shot -- but he (and we) can still make a difference, however small, simply by standing up and joining the fight.

And, after all, isn't that exactly what Hawkeye would do?

What do you reckon, though?

via Jezebel


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