Sony Pictures’ co-chair Amy Pascal, vacating her post amid the company’s scandalous e-mail hacks, is defending the gender pay gap in Hollywood, ThinkProgress reports.
“I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and go, ‘Can I give you some more?’ That’s not what you do when you run a business.” Pascal said at the World of Women event in San Francisco on Thursday.
“The truth is that what women have to do is not work for less money and walk away. People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs…people should know what they’re worth and say no,” Pascal continued.
The email leak at Sony last year unearthed the massive pay gap between male and female movie stars in Hollywood. In American Hustle, for instance, lead actors Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner were offered nine percent of the film’s back-end profits. The female leads, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, received just seven percent.
Mind you, Amy Adams has been nominated for four Oscars, which is more than Cooper and Renner combined. Lawrence, the new “It girl” in Hollywood, is a box office queen with her role in The Hunger Games. The third installment of the film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, was the highest grossing movie of 2014 with $333.2 million.
And then there’s Charlize Theron. The Monster star used the e-mail hacks to her advantage when she realized she was poised to be paid significantly lower than her less-seasoned, new-kid-on-the-block co-star, Chris Hemsworth in The Huntsman. Theron, with a double-decade long acting career and an Academy Award under her belt, demanded that she be paid the same as Hemsworth.
Sure Pascal’s defense alludes to a known fact: Women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary than men. But that’s not the nucleus of the reason behind unequal pay in Hollywood. How does a woman even know she’s being paid less compared to men if, for example, North Korea doesn’t hack into the company’s system first?
Surely if Adams and Lawrence were privy to the pay gap, they would have pulled a Theron. Transparency is key.
We get it — salary offers are a tug-o-war. It’s a business, as Pascal said. Employers want inexpensive labor and workers want a generous pay package. But why on earth, despite the fact that Adams, Lawrence, and Theron have greater acting accolades than most of the male leads, are they being paid less than their less-impressive male co-stars?
That’s the problem with gender pay inequality.
Pascal said women “should know what they’re worth,” but how is that Hollywood don’t see their worth first?