When Patricia Arquette accepted an Oscar for her role in the movie “Boyhood” last year, she appended the usual “I’d like to thank my agent” speech with a surprising call for pay equality and equal rights for women.
The Oscar may be on her shelf, but Arquette has not dropped the topic of women making less than men, and on Tuesday, she joined with Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Equal Pay Day to push the envelope in Washington.
Arquette told a group of wonky reporters at the National Press Club, in Washington, that she didn’t mean for her remarks on the Oscar stage to apply only to women in Hollywood — although, she noted, actresses typically make less than their male counterparts, too.
“This is an American problem, and this is an American disgrace,” she said.
Arquette is also slated to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday — and judging from her tone at the Press Club event, some of them might get an earful.
“The fact that little has been done by many of our officials is infuriating,” she said. “It is a choice — when laws that would help women are either ignored or voted down. … So make no mistake, women are receiving a strong message: Many of our leaders do not care that there is this discrimination occurring to half the population.”
Arquette said she knew ahead of time that her unconventional Oscar speech would ruffle feathers. “I told my boyfriend and my friends, ‘I’m probably going to lose a bunch of work, but I’m going to say something tonight. I don’t care.'”