Just days after the Asian stars of Hawaii Five-0 left the show after not being given a salary equal to their white male costars, Emma Stone has shed some light on some of her own issues regarding the disparity between what she and her costars make—and how they’ve tried to work around it.
In an Out Magazine roundtable with tennis icon Billie Jean King (whom Stone portrays in the upcoming Battle of the Sexes) and Stone’s costar Andrea Riseborough, Stone discussed equal pay. Makes sense, seeing as how not only did Billie Jean King force the U.S. Open to give men and women the same amount of prize money by threatening to boycott the tournament, but there’s also a pretty big and well-known gender pay gap in Hollywood.
Stone revealed that some of her male costars have taken pay cuts so that technically she can have equal pay. Per Out:
In my career so far, I’ve needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And 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.
Stone and Riseborough explained that Hollywood relies on “quotes,” an opaque calculation formulated in part by what an actor was paid for past projects and how those projects performed commercially—it’s another factor that reinforces the enormous gender gap. While actors taking pay cuts to help their fellow actress is a sneaky way to game the system and potentially improve women’s quotes, the underlying problem is still that women aren’t getting recognized for their talent and paid (what they deserve, which happens to be) more. Just pay women equally! God!
I’m sure a studio is perfectly fine paying both stars less, so it seems the next step in this battle is to bring women to parity with what men are being initially offered instead of having men take cuts for parity. I am truly baffled as to why it is so difficult for these studios to even consider viewing women as equals (OK, I’m not baffled, it’s money and patriarchy), but good god is Hollywood sexist and petulant.