The gender pay gap is an issue in every industry in the world, with women in the United States being paid an average of 80 cents for every dollar men earn. Hollywood has been especially vocal about the gap in the last few years, with more and more actresses coming forward about their male co-stars being paid more than them. Most recently, a story about Michelle Williams’ pitiful salary compared to her male counterpart is making headlines, a situation which unfortunately is quite common in the industry.
Here are 5 instances in which Hollywood actresses were not paid what they deserved:
Michelle Williams – All the Money in the World
The most recent example of the gender pay gap is also possibly the most shocking. It was recently revealed that Mark Wahlberg was paid a whopping 1500 times more than Michelle Williams for the 10-day reshoot on All the Money in the World, following the recasting of Kevin Spacey. The story understandably caused a public outcry, prompting other actresses to condemn the insane disparity. The controversy lead Wahlberg to donate his entire salary to the Time’s Up movement in Williams’ name. A nice move on his part, but why wasn’t she paid what she deserved in the first place?
Natalie Portman – No Strings Attached
At the beginning of 2017, Natalie Portman gave an interview in which she revealed that her co-star, Ashton Kutcher, was paid three times more than she was paid for the 2011 romantic comedy No Strings Attached. Speaking about the pay gap, she explained: “I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.” It’s hard to believe that an Oscar winning actress could be paid so much less than her co-star, and for the same amount of work no less!
Gwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man
It’s no secret that Robert Downey Jr. is paid an exorbitant amount to portray Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reportedly earning $40 million for his role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but what about his co-stars? Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Pepper Potts in the franchise, opened up in 2015 about the differences in their salaries, saying: “Look, nobody is worth the money that Robert Downey Jr. is worth, but if I told you the disparity, you would probably be surprised.” She didn’t specify the exact amount she was paid, but considering how much money The Avengers films make, they could definitely have afforded to pay her much more than they did.
Gillian Anderson – The X-Files
Way back in the 90s, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were hired to play the now-iconic Scully and Mulder on The X-Files. At the time, Duchovny was paid more than Anderson, as he had a tad more experience in Hollywood than she did. As the years went on however, both stars reached the same level of fame and recognition and were playing equals roles on the massively successful series. The Golden Globe winning actress therefore renegotiated her salary and achieved parity, but unfortunately the story doesn’t end there. In 2016, when The X-Files was being brought back for a new season, Gillian revealed that she was offered HALF of what David was offered, despite having already fought for parity 20 years earlier. She was eventually given the same salary as her co-star, but the fact that she was offered such a low amount is a clear example of an actress not getting her fair share, simply because she’s a woman.
Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams – American Hustle
Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams are two of the most successful and well-respected actors of our generation, but even the most prolific actresses are subject to the gender pay gap. In 2014, a story by The Daily Beast revealed that the actresses were paid less than their male counterparts for their work in the film American Hustle. Specifically Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale received 9% backend compensation, while Adams and Lawrence only received 7%, despite playing lead roles in the film. Jennifer Lawrence wrote a viral op-ed shortly after criticizing Hollywood for its unequal treatment of men and women, arguing that women often don’t negotiate for more money out of fear of being called divas who are difficult to work with, a label that rarely gets attached to male actors.