8 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About Wage Inequality

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The issue of wage inequality is complex, and runs far deeper than most of us realize. A topic likely reserved for another time, and likely another entity. What we’ll boldly offer is a shortlist of celebrities–both women and men–who have dropped the bomb on the double standard that exists in Hollywood, throughout the United States and all over the world. Yes, these are millionaires claiming that they should make equal millions, but at the heart of it, they’re hitting on a universal truth. A job warrants standard pay, regardless of who is doing it.

8. Charlize Theron

In the realm of gender equality, and wage inequality, Charlize Theron is one who hasn’t messed around. When you get to a certain point, and you’ve taken less pay in order to perform better roles, you can really offer a strong right hand to a less than stellar offer from a producer. To quickly explain how wages work for actors, there is a minimum scale which producers must meet based on the overall budget of the film. For studio productions, they far exceed the minimum for stars. It’s much like the world of sports. Charlize is a female known for a fierce ability to negotiate. If a studio wants her, she and her team won’t sign anything until her wage is comparable to the highest salary in the film — if the role warrants a big payday. This became obvious during the Sony hack, when emails regarding the topic were released.

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7. Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is good friends with Jennifer Lawrence, and the two have worked together multiple times at this point. Financials isn’t something they discuss, just as people in the “real world” don’t talk their wages with anyone outside of closest friends and family–certainly not co-workers. When Jennifer’s essay on wage inequality was released earlier in 2015, Bradley was quick to jump into the mix. He spoke briefly about the bigger picture, and other career paths, but had this to say about his own: “I don’t know where it’s changing otherwise but that’s something that I could do. Usually you don’t talk about the financial stuff, you have people. But you know what? It’s time to start doing that.” Bradley is one of several people who likely terrify Hollywood producers, because he commands box office, and he will ask: “How much is so-and-so getting paid?”


6. Sienna Miller

Jumping into the 2015 present, Sienna Miller was featured in the October issue of Vogue, and she had a few things to say about pay inequality. Earlier this year, Sienna was contracted to co-star in a Broadway play that would feature her and a male counterpart. Word got out about their wages, and that was that. Sienna said, “It was a play with just two of us on stage, and I was offered less than half of what he was going to be paid. If it was two men, it wouldn’t probably happen. Sad, but I walked away.” She obviously felt it was a gender related issue, though she might venture into a deeper discussion with the agent or manager who helped negotiate her contract. It sounds a little bit like they didn’t do their homework. Still…a lowball offer to Sienna Miller? C’mon Broadway.

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5. Jeremy Renner

We won’t give two seconds to the spin put on Jeremy Renner’s words offered by an unnamed publication, twisting them into a headline grabbing pile of crap. Try to paint a person like a fool these days, and they can take to Twitter–which was exactly what Jeremy did. “On the issue of gender equality I have always supported women deserving equal pay. Period. A person should be rewarded only by their merit or service to their given field. Gender, race, creed, or sexual orientation should have absolutely no influence in pay, positively or negatively.” This is a good time to remind people that it’s 2015 and 9o percent of what we’re told to believe by the news media is possibly bull****. Jeremy maintains that he doesn’t dig into other people’s business when it comes to pay, or share what he’s paid.

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4. Emma Watson

Who’d have thought Hermione Granger would become such a pleasant voice in the world of activism. Emma has been quite outspoken about issues of gender equality and pay inequality due to gender issues her entire adulthood…which has been a whopping five-ish years. Here’s a little morsel from her speech offered at The United Nations in the fall of 2014: “I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.” Well, that seems simple enough, doesn’t it? When it comes to all things gender related, Emma knows what she’s talking about.

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3. Kerry Washington

Staying on the surface, there are certain women who have had to understand the “industry odds” against them from the get-go. Kerry Washington has been so graceful as a black woman in the entertainment industry in the United States of America, where a variety of dysfunction exists. There is no denying the talent of Kerry, and the fact she possesses the aesthetic beauty to serve as a muse, it is a gift that she has been so politely outspoken about gender, race and pay equality issues in Hollyweird. Kerry has offered some impassioned speeches for equality across the board, not only having to do with finance, but her recent tweet, that included a photo of herself, and the following words, “When we step up for ourselves, we create opportunity,” puts it perfectly. And this is coming from one of TVs highest paid actresses. She could rest on her laurels.


2. Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence certainly stirred the pot when she offered an essay on the topic of pay inequality in Hollywood. That’s painting this thing too black and white, isn’t it? It wasn’t only about inequality in Hollywood, but inequality in gender relations. Across the board, men are paid higher than women. This doesn’t always hold true, but the overwhelming, vast majority of industries around the world pay men more for doing the same job as female counterparts. Jennifer wrote, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars? When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with d****, I didn’t get mad at Sony, I got mad at myself.” It would be interesting to see what all contracts broke down to on a days-worked basis, but Jennifer has made it clear. Pay her the same as everyone else.


1. Patricia Arquette

Somehow, Patricia Arquette is getting lost in the shuffle of pay equality, even though she’s the woman who started blowing the trumpet early in 2015 after winning an Oscar. The beloved Patricia, part of the Hollywood royal family, The Arquettes, stood up and delivered an epic statement during her acceptance speech. Her statement was so bold that Meryl Streep began pointing and shouting from the floor seats, “Yes! Yes!” at the Dolby Theatre, the annual home of the Oscars. What did she say? “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Now, that right there…that is how you open a can of worms.

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James Sheldon