Rachel Griffiths calls for 'respect' for sex workers ahead of ThreeNow brothel show Madam

Madam's star has made an urgent plea for sex workers.
Madam's star has made an urgent plea for sex workers. Photo credit: Warner Bros Discovery

Six Feet Under actress Rachel Griffiths has issued an urgent call for sex workers to be respected ahead of the launch of her new ThreeNow TV series about an "ethical brothel".

Griffiths plays American Mackenzie Leigh who lives in small-town New Zealand with her husband Rob and their two sons in Madam

Leigh decides to set up a "feminist, ethical brothel" when she discovers her husband has been seeing a sex worker. The show is due to premiere in July on ThreeNow. 

However, the first episode has already premiered at a TV festival in Monte Carlo, where its star Griffiths made the plea.

"If we disrespect sex workers, we are disrespecting women. It's the same thing. In Australia, we are in the throes of terrible violence against women. We've had more of them die at the hands of their partners or ex-partners in the first three months of the year than in all of last year," Variety magazine reported Griffiths as saying. 

"People used to talk about what a woman was wearing if something bad happened to her. If she was a sex worker, nobody investigated these cases. I really hope we grow out of it."

New Zealand decriminalised sex work in 2003. 

"It became a feminist issue. Women couldn't be incarcerated, penalised or fined for providing a service. What's the difference between a massage and a blowjob?" she said.

"What people do with their bodies should be their decision. We have some really big problems we are facing as a world. So why do legislators focus on the female body or try to stop people from getting laid?" Griffiths asked during a roundtable press conference.

"I think the younger generation is more sex and body-positive, and maybe OnlyFans has normalised certain things. I know many women who are getting off dating apps. They say: 'These guys are expecting sex, for free, after buying me a coffee.' If that's the dating culture at the moment, what's the difference between getting paid? It's still a transaction."

Madam also stars Rima Te Wiata, Ariaña Osborne, Danielle Cormack, Robbie Magasiva and Martin Henderson.