Beloved English actress Emma Thompson has waded into the debate about gender equality in Hollywood, claiming that, far from making progress since the issue was first seriously raised in the last decade, the industry has gone backwards.

Speaking to the UK entertainment magazine Radio Times, the 56 year old star bemoaned that sexism in the movies was “still completely s***”. She’s one of many recent high-profile names to point out the equality gap in Hollywood, following the likes of Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock and Patricia Arquette.

“I don’t think there’s any appreciable improvement, and I think that, for women, the question of how they are supposed to look is worse than it was even when I was young. So no, I am not impressed, at all. I think it’s still completely s***, actually,” Thompson said.

Emma ThompsonEmma Thompson has decried the reversal of progress in the fight against Hollywood sexism

The star of several critically respected and commercially successful pictures over the years, from Nanny McPhee and the Harry Potter films to her Oscar-winning turn in Howards End, said that the situation had gotten even worse for up-and-coming actresses now.

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“When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world,” she said. “And when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women, and I find that very disturbing and sad.”

“I get behind as many young female performers as I can, and actually a lot of the conversations with them are about exactly the fact that we are facing and writing about the same things and nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent.”

Thompson even seemed to direct these sentiments at her most recent role, that of a 77 year old prostitute in her new film The Legend of Barney Thomson, which is released on July 24th and features Robert Carlyle and Ray Winston. She reckons that it was probably “a bit ageist” to cast somebody 21 years younger than the age the role called for.

“It would be really nice to get someone who is actually 77 to play her, but it’s a wildly comic role and I couldn’t resist,” she admitted.

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