Jennifer Lawrence finally broke her silence about the leaked Sony emails in April where it was revealed she was paid less than her co-actors Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner. Lawrence said she held herself from speaking when the controversy broke because she felt that it was more of a “trending topic” than a concrete issue on gender wage gap.
The leaked Sony emails exposed that her male co-actors for “American Hustle” received a 9-percent cut of profits while Lawrence and Amy Adams got only 7 percent. Writing for Lenny, Lawrence said she was not mad at Sony when she found out that she was being paid much less than the “lucky people with dicks.”
“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,” she said. Lawrence explained that she gave up easily because she felt that if she demanded more, she will be called as “difficult” and “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,’” Lawrence wrote. But as proven by the Sony leak, Renner, Bale and Cooper succeeded in negotiation. “If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share,” she said. True enough, when another Sony email was leaked, a producer for the studio called another lead actress “spoiled brat” for demanding an equal pay. “For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man,” she said.
Lawrence was named as Forbes highest-paid this year for banking $52 million over 12 months. However, her counterpart on the highest paid-actor category, Robert Downey Jr., banked $16.5 to $28 million more than Lawrence.
Lawrence concluded that one of the contributing factors why gender wage gap is widespread is that women are afraid to speak their mind because they are afraid to hurt the men. “I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t ‘offend’ or ‘scare’ men?” Lawrence asked.
Lawrence is not alone with this predicament. Just days before Lawrence’s essay was out, Salma Hayek and Gyneth Paltrow have also spoken about the issue. “You were considered ungrateful, you were considered entitled, so I think it’s amazing that women now are saying ‘we’re going to talk about this. This isn’t fair,'” Paltrow told Reuters.
Hayek, on the other hand, said that gender wage gap is a problem that went beyond Hollywood. “This is a problem that is in every single industry. If you have the same capacities and you are doing the same job, it is criminal not to pay the same salary,” Hayek said.
During the Oscars held in February, Patricia Arquette drew a cheering crowd when she made gender wage gap the center of her acceptance speech. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer of this nation. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all in the United States of America,” she said.
A recent report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research said “female full-time workers made only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 21 percent.” The report predicts that U.S. women will never get equal pay with men until the year 2058. The Center for American Progress also released a report showing that women of colors and ethnicity working full-time, year round in the United States, earned an average of only 78 percent of what men earned in 2013.