When Michelle Williams attended Sunday’s Golden Globes with Tarana Burke, the activist behind “Me Too,” the actress adeptly turned the focus of red carpet interviews back on the message she and other celebrity-activist pairs wanted to bolster: It’s finally time to end sexual harassment and assault in all industries.
It was a resonant statement for Williams, who was up for a best-actress Golden Globe for the drama “All the Money in the World,” which she had initially filmed with Kevin Spacey. After allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey came to light, director Ridley Scott replaced the embattled actor with Christopher Plummer, and got the cast back together to reshoot pivotal scenes.
But it turns out Williams, billed as the lead actress, got paid way less for reshoots than a supporting actor: Mark Wahlberg. As The Post’s Steven Zeitchik reported in November, Wahlberg got paid millions for about 10 days of work. Williams and others earned a fraction of that.
Then on Tuesday, USA Today reported some exact figures: Williams earned $80 per diem, adding up to less than $1,000, and less than 1 percent of the $1.5 million Wahlberg earned. According to the outlet, Wahlberg’s team negotiated the reshoot fee. Reps for the movie studio, the actors and their shared agency did not comment to the outlet, nor did they months ago to The Post.
Scott had previously told USA Today that the actors did the reshoots “for nothing,” and that he also didn’t get paid. Williams had also previously said she offered to be “wherever they needed me, whenever they needed me. And they could have my salary, they could have my holiday, whatever they wanted. Because I appreciated so much that they were making this massive effort.”
The details over the pay-gap generated plenty of outrage, including among celebrities. “She has been in the industry for 20 [years],” Jessica Chastain tweeted. “She deserves more than 1% of her male costar’s salary.”
“This is so messed up that it is almost hard to believe. Almost,” Judd Apatow tweeted. “This is how this business works.”
But before Hollywood grappled so publicly with sexual harassment and assault, the gender pay gap was one of the industry’s dominant issues. Here are the other recent controversies:
The Sony hack brought out a lot of dirty laundry in the industry, including pay discrepancies for the 2013 movie “American Hustle.” Lawrence was an international star at the time, thanks to her “Hunger Games” franchise, and an Oscar winner. But through the hack, she discovered in 2014 that she got paid less than her male co-stars (Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner).
A year later, Lawrence wrote an essay for Lenny Letter directly addressing the pay gap and, in particular, drawing attention to the double-standards women encounter when negotiating. After the hack:
I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need . . . But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.”
Adams also was paid less than her male co-stars in “American Hustle.”
“She worked every day on that movie and got paid nothing. It’s really horrible actually, it’s almost embarrassing,” her co-star Cooper later said. “[She] should have been paid more than everybody” for her work on the film.
Adams later said that she knew she was getting paid less than her male co-stars.
“I didn’t speak about it before and I’m probably not going to speak about it forever, because I disagreed with . . . not Jennifer per se, but people who had opinions on how women should go about negotiating,” the actress told GQ in 2016. “The truth is we hire people to negotiate on our behalf, men and women. . . . I knew I was being paid less and I still agreed to do it because the option comes down to do it or don’t do it. So you just have to decide if it’s worth it for you. It doesn’t mean I liked it.”
The actress revealed last year that Ashton Kutcher got paid three times more than her for the 2011 rom-com “No Strings Attached.”
“I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,” she said in a Maire Claire interview, referring to the practice of determining an actor’s salary in part based on his or her previous salaries. “His [quote] was three times higher than mine so they said he should get three times more. I wasn’t as [ticked] as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.”
She continued: “Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
When discussing her role in”Battle of the Sexes,” Stone revealed that in her career, male co-stars have taken a pay cut so that she can have parity with them:
That’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, “That’s what’s fair.” If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.
Taraji P. Henson
Although she would go on to be nominated for a supporting actress Oscar for her role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Henson would later write that she ended up getting paid “the equivalent of sofa change” compared with what co-stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett received. As she wrote in her memoir, Henson’s manager at one point asked for “somewhere in the mid-six figures — no doubt a mere percentage” of the millions Pitt got, but was denied. She also had to pay her own location fees while filming in New Orleans. As she wrote:
The math really is pretty simple: There are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them, and we’re consistently charged with diving for the crumbs of the scraps, lest we starve. This is exactly how a studio can get away with paying the person who’s name is third on the call sheet of a big-budget film less than 2 percent what it’s paying the person whose name is listed first. I knew the stakes: no matter how talented, no matter how many accolades my prior work had received, if I pushed for more money, I’d be replaced and no one would so much as a blink.
Her rousing 2015 Oscars acceptance speech ended with a call-to-action that cast a light on the gender pay gap.
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she said after winning for best supporting actress for “Boyhood.” “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
The next year, Arquette said on the red carpet that since her speech, she has lost or had to walk away from roles. “I know that there was an issue with a couple of things, for sure, because I said something that made it very obvious. But it’s okay because I do believe in karma,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “And before I said it, I knew there was going to be some drama, because it would cost people money.”
She added: “But there are 33 million women and kids that are living in poverty in America, with a full-time working mom. So, we need to address this and we need to address this right away.”
The E! anchor left the network last month because, she said, she was getting paid half of what her male co-star made. Sadler said that her team “asked for what I know I deserve and were denied repeatedly” during negotiations.
Celebrities such as Debra Messing and Eva Longoria called out Sadler’s departure on E! itself during the network’s Golden Globes red carpet coverage on Sunday.
By Tuesday, Frances Berwick, who heads up E! and other NBC entertainment networks, said publicly that Sadler and her co-host Jason Kennedy had different roles “and therefore different salaries,” Variety reported. “Our employees’ salaries are based on their roles and their expertise, regardless of gender. So we wish Catt well, but I hope that sets the record straight on that.”