Trends: Calling Out Pay Disparity

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of 'Today' (ET Online)

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of ‘Today’ (ET Online)

Earlier this week, word got out that Michelle Williams got paid a per diem for quickly reshooting scenes for “All the Money in the World” ahead of its release. That per diem amounted to $80 per diem, totaling less than $1,000. Her costar Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, was paid a whopping $1.5M for the reshoots.

As USA Today notes, “that works out to Williams being paid less than one-tenth of 1% of her male co-star.” Isn’t that crazy?! In light of this revelation, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is investigating the matter to see if any rules were violated during the making of the film.

This isn’t the first time men and women have faced a pay disparity. Far from it. But now, calling out pay disparity has become a public way to shame companies for making their employees feel undervalued.

This has been happening several times in news. After “Today” host Matt Lauer was fired, it was reported that Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie would take over as co-hosts. Kotb and Guthrie would each be paid $7M, with their combined salaries making $14M. Later was making $25M, making the difference between his salary and those of his two co-hosts $11M.

Last month, E! Entertainment host Catt Sadler left her job of 12 years, because she was paid half as much as her male co-host Jason Kennedy. Her departure did not go unnoticed: Actresses Debra Messing, Laura Dern, and Eva Longoria confronted this year’s Golden Globes red carpet pre-show hosts Guiliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest over the issue.

Awareness of pay disparity has also spread around the world. Former BBC News editor Carrie Gracie quit her position earlier this month once she learned that she had been severely underpaid throughout her career.

The pay disparity problem has also crossed racial lines. “Hawaii Five-O” stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park each left the series last year due to pay disparity between themselves and their white costars. Though the two had been with the show since 2010, their respective raises were still 10-15% lower than those of their white costars.

It’s excellent that pay disparities are finally coming to light! Let’s hope they spur some lasting changes toward equality.


Meghan Markle is Engaged to Prince Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (E! Online)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (E! Online)

It’s finally happening! Former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle got engaged to her boyfriend Price Harry (heard of him?), and they announced their engagement a week ago. The two attended a photocall in the morning at Kensington Palance’s Sunken Garden, and sat down for an televised interview revealing more details with the BBC later that day.

This engagement is big for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it’s breaking barriers: Markle will be the first biracial person (and first biracial woman) to join the royal family. (Markle’s mother is Doria Ragland, an African-American woman, and her father is Thomas Markle, who is Caucasian. Markle self-identifies as a “strong, confident mixed-race woman.”) Many are excited because Markle will be the first “Black Princess” (though technically she’s more likely to end up with a Duchess title), but there are more nuances to the situation. “Elle” has a a great piece where 16 Black women aired their reactions to the engagement news; it’s well worth reading in full, so go check it out!

The engagement is also a powerful step towards revolutionizing the British monarchy and the public’s perception thereof. Princes Harry and William have spoken out about their mental health and its importance, and seem to want to make the monarchy more progressive. Along with the fact that Prince Harry will be marrying a biracial woman, he’ll also be marrying a divorcee: Markle was previously married to film producer Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013. The last time a British royal married a divorced woman, he had to abdicate the throne. This happened in 1937 when the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson, which caused quite a scandal.

One thing is for sure: this engagement is hurtling the British royal family into the 21st century. As “The New York Times” puts it:

With one heady announcement, it seems, Harry and Ms. Markle have thrown out generations’ worth of quietly repressed tradition and presented a new royal model to a country that will have to adjust to it, whether it wants to or not.