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.

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Idris Elba Makes History at the 2016 SAG Awards

Idris Elba at the 2016 SAG Awards (LA Times)

Idris Elba at the 2016 SAG Awards (LA Times)

The world’s hottest man (not editorializing, this is a fact and everyone agrees) made history Saturday night at the annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.

Idris Elba (you know him as Stringer Bell from “The Wire”) not only became the first man to win two SAG awards in one night; he became the first African-American man to do so. Elba won for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for “Beasts of No Nation,” and for Best Male Actor in a Television Movie or Mini Series for “Luther.” This is especially impressive as it’s the first year he was nominated for a solo acting award. Go Idris!

But Elba’s wins made a splash for another, more sobering reason: He’s the only film winner that wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. His fellow winners (Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant,” Brie Larson for “Room,” and Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl“) are all nominated. With the conversation around the Oscars’ diversity occurring for the second year in a row (#OscarsSoWhiteRedux), it’s worth noting for the future.

With Queen Latifah (“Bessie“), Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black“), and Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder“) also winning awards, Elba welcomed us all into the future with the following words:

“Ladies and gentleman, welcome to diverse TV.”

I, for one, cannot wait to see how things progress.