Gillian Anderson just revealed some shocking sexist secrets about The X-Files — and not all of them are in the past.
Anderson says that she had to fight tooth and nail to have some ridiculous rules changed on the set of The X-Files, some of which had to do with salary — and some of which were just so stupidly ridiculous it will make you wonder if it happened during this century.
Anderson, who plays no-nonsense scientist Scully on the beloved TV series, told one anecdote about life on set that totally blew our minds. Despite being lauded as a feminist icon, her character was still treated as a second-class citizen by the studio.
“The studio initially required Anderson to stand a few feet behind her male partner on camera, careful never to step side by side with him,” The Daily Beast revealed in an interview with Anderson. “And it took three years before Anderson finally closed the wage gap between her pay and Duchovny’s, having become fed up with accepting less than ‘equal pay for equal work.'”
Anderson tried to come up with a reasonable explanation for the studio’s ridiculousness, but could not. “I can only imagine that at the beginning, they wanted me to be the sidekick,” she told The Daily Beast. “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!
“I have such a knee-jerk reaction to that stuff, a very short tolerance for that shit,” she said. “I don’t know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, ‘F*** 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.”
Anderson’s salary was initially much lower than her co-star David Duchovny’s, but she eventually got on equal footing — until once again she was offered just half of his salary for the new X-Files event series.
“I’m surprised that more [interviewers] haven’t brought that up, because it’s the truth,” Anderson 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. 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.
“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. It is… sad. It is sad.”
But don’t worry — sources later confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Anderson did wind up with an equal paycheck to Duchovny. She would never settle for less.