In an exclusive chat with PEOPLE surrounding her new campaign video for the American Red Cross, the actress says her choice not to sign on to reprise her role as final girl Sidney Prescott for Scream 6 was "truly" just "negotiation" related. "I did not feel that what I was being offered equated to the value that I bring to this franchise, and have brought to this franchise, for 25 years," she tells PEOPLE.
"And as a woman in this business, I think it's really important for us to be valued and to fight to be valued," continues Campbell, 48. "I honestly don't believe that if I were a man and had done five installments of a huge blockbuster franchise over 25 years, that the number that I was offered would be the number that would be offered to a man."
"And in my soul, I just couldn't do that," she adds. "I couldn't walk on set feeling that — feeling undervalued and feeling the unfairness, or lack of fairness, around that."
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Brownie Harris /Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection Neve Campbell in Scream (2022)
Campbell has appeared as Sidney in all five films since the first, directed by Wes Craven, hit theaters in December 1996. She played a large part in each installment all the way through this year's Scream, which was released in January.
"Sadly I won't be making the next Scream film," she said in a June statement. "As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream. I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise."
"It's been a very difficult decision to move on. To all my Scream fans, I love you. You've always been so incredibly supportive to me. I'm forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years," Campbell added.
The actress maintains that "it was sad" for her to not return, telling PEOPLE, "I love these movies. I love Sidney. I love this franchise; I'm so grateful for it."
"But at the same time, I really just couldn't bear the idea of walking onto [the sixth film] and feeling undervalued," she notes.
Everett Collection Neve Campbell in Scream (1996)
Aside from a few television projects she's especially excited about — including Netflix's The Lincoln Lawyer and the upcoming Peacock series Twisted Metal with Anthony Mackie — Campbell is honored to be a part of the American Red Cross' new PSA, which sees her tap into her horror roots to encourage others to donate blood.
"The Red Cross approached me and spoke to me about the statistics of how many people are actually donating right now, and that it's challenging for them at the moment to get the numbers up in blood. And it meant a lot," she explains. "I think it's so important, so crucial, for people to get out there and give blood."
American Red Cross
"And I did not realize that only 3% of Americans donate. I did not realize that it's that challenging for them. I also did not realize that one in seven people who enter the hospital will need blood. That's huge," Campbell adds. "And this summer, unfortunately, the numbers are just low on people donating. We don't know why, but it's a bit scary. It means that more blood is going out the door than coming in."
"And the last thing any of us want is for ourselves or our friends or our family or loved ones to have an accident or be in need of blood in the hospital and not have it on the shelves. So it seemed to me really important to jump on board and get involved and try and get the word out," she says.
Find out where to donate blood at the American Red Cross.