UNITED STATES—This has been an ongoing issue in Hollywood for nearly a century if not longer. For reasons I still cannot fathom, men are still being paid double, triple, quadruple and in some situations 15x the amount that their female counterparts make. I recall this conversation really hitting the fan a few years ago with actresses Patricia Arquette, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and many others bringing awareness to the issue. Recently, E! News made headlines when host Catt Sadler abruptly announced her departure from the network after learning that her co-host Jason Kennedy was making double the salary she was making doing practically the exact same job.
Yes, I know the network came out with a statement, but I was baffled with the statement, I recall Sadler vividly and she has been with the network for as long as I can recall, and as long as I’ve watched E! News both have pretty much done the same thing. That argument that Jason worked the red carpet was laughable, because so did Sadler people. I’d rather people just acknowledge the truth instead of constantly trying to sugarcoat things, thinking the public is stupid. HEY, WE ARE NOT!
This brings me to the news that literally had me appalled. We all know about the debacle taking place with the Ridley Scott flick “All the Money in the World” starring Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg. I mean Kevin Spacey being completely taken out of the film and replaced with revered actor Christopher Plummer was a shocker, but learning that Williams made only close to $1000 for reshoots, while her co-star Wahlberg made nearly $1.5 million had me livid. I mean I was livid and steaming made. There were so many reports coming out left and right about the pay discrepancy. One noted that Williams had in her contract she was obligated to do reshoots, whereas Wahlberg did not. Ok, I can see that, but even if that was the case, Williams is the STAR of this film, so the fact that her agents and her agency did not fight for her to have a bigger paycheck shows Hollywood continues to treat women with far less respect than males.
What is even more baffling is the fact that both Wahlberg and Williams are represented by the same agency. I get pay is probably kept under wraps for most actors in the film arena, but I hate seeing some get paid way more than others, when you start to factor in who has a higher level of star power. Yes, Wahlberg is a big time name, but Williams is a sensational actress and this woman has been nominated for at least 5 Academy Awards, Wahlberg has only been nominated once. That alone in my personal opinion deserves a bigger paycheck for the actress.
I respect Williams so much because she is such a TEAM PLAYER. Without hesitation she did reshoots and she didn’t even request a massive paycheck to do so. Do I take argument with that? Yes, because I do believe the actress should have negotiated more, but the fact of the matter is she put the film first over her personal gain. Not so sure I can say the same for Wahlberg. I was ready to write this column last week, but I’m glad I waited until the weekend because had I not; I was really going to lay into Wahlberg. However, after learning the actor was donating his entire $1.5 million salary for reshoots to the #MeToo movement I have garnered a ton of respect for the actor. Now was this done because he was facing so much heat and public outcry? Of course that is the likelihood, but the fact he still did it says wonders. I’m not so certain so many actors even facing such backlash would do the same, so the actor showed a tremendous amount of courage for doing so.
Icing on the cake is the fact that his agency is also donating $500,000 to the cause; it would be nicer if they actually matched what Mark donated bringing the tally to $3 million instead of $2 million. The fact that Hollywood is bringing issue to this pay discrepancy is important, but it’s NOT JUST HOLLYWOOD people, America needs to follow suit. There are far too many people, not just women, but men also who make far less than their counterparts performing the exact same job. If you do the EXACT SAME JOB, you should be paid the EXACT same as your counterpart rather male or female, and if we’re talking about race that is a completely different subject in its own right. A movement of change is in play and we need to keep this train moving at full speed to see results.