Welcome to the never-ending series we like to call “The Wage Gap Screwing Over Women And Minorities”.
Today’s episode features comedienne Amy Schumer. After coming off an Emmy win for her skit show Inside Amy Schumer and a hit rom com in Trainwreck, she was offered $11 million by Netflix for an exclusive stand-up special.
Which seemed reasonable, until both Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle made headlines for their $20 million per special pay checks. According to Variety, Schumer pressured Netflix’s exec’s for a pay rise after discovering the info. Insiders say she, “Received significantly more compensation after she raised the question of fairness.”
It’s all part of a larger report from Variety on the state of the wage gap in Hollywood. In it, they also reveal that black actress Yvette Nicole Brown, of Community and The Mayor fame, once renegotiated her contract after discovering, in a past job, that a white male guest star was being paid almost the same as her, a series regular, per episode.
I was like, ‘That’s five dollars less than me.’ It’s not like this was Tom Cruise. If Tom Cruise comes, back up the Brinks truck. This was a journeyman actor. He wasn’t performing a series-regular role… I’ve been a series regular now for eight years on network television, and I’m making what a guy coming for a week is making. And it’s because I’m a black woman.
A multitude of factors play into how much actors and other professionals get paid in Hollywood. The biggest factor, however, is how much experience an actor has. If they’ve worked considerably in TV before, and have worked on pilots, and other such factors, they’ll get paid accordingly. Which brings up the larger issue: that opportunities for women, minorities, and the LGBTIQ+ community in show business are still a fraction of those offered to people who are white, male or heterosexual.
In any case, if there’s one lesson we can take from this it’s to know your own worth, and if you think you’re being underpaid, bring it the eff up.
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