Sony is no stranger to being hacked, but they probably didn’t expect intimate emails between staff to be leaked. Although passwords, security numbers and “the breastfeeding diet of a senior executive” found their way onto the Internet, nothing proved as interesting as the emails concerning the pay of actors and the spreadsheet listing the salaries of employees.
One email, exchanged between Columbia Pictures president of business affairs Andrew Gumpert, head of Sony’s motion picture group Doug Belgrad and co-chief Amy Pascal, revolved around disparities bought to light by Jennifer Lawrence’s lawyers.
It revealed that Lawrence was in line to receive only five per cent of the Box Office takings for movie ‘American Hustle’. Thus was in comparison to counterpart Amy Adams, who got two per cent more, and male co-stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner each earning nine per cent.
Of course, Lawrence’s back-end pay was bumped up to reflect that of Adams’.
Another email read: “Got a steve warren/gretchen rush call that it’s unfair the male actors get 9% in the pool and jennifer is only at 7pts. You may recall Jennifer was at 5 (amy was and is at 7) and WE anted in 2 extra points for Jennifer to get her up to 7. If anyone needs to top jennifer up it’s megan. BUT I think amy and Jennifer are tied so upping JL, ups AA.”
Gumpert added: “The current talent deals are: O’Russell: 9%; Cooper: 9%; Bale: 9%; Renner: 9%; Lawrence: 7%; Adams: 7%.”
That’s not the crux of the story. Essentially, Lawrence plays a smaller part, which is why she initially got paid less. But why did Adams get paid less than Cooper and Bale when she was one of the movie’s leading roles? And Renner, who plays a lesser role than Adams, still got paid a lot more than she did.
On a corporate level, Sony’s wage gap is still evident. Hannah Minghella and Michael De Luca are both co-presidents of Columbia Pictures. They have the same job. Shockingly, however, De Luca earns $900,000 (£596,253) more than Minghella. It was further revealed that Pascal, remember that she owns the company, earned $3m less than Stephen Mosko who is in charge of Sony Pictures Television.
But the gender pay gap is not the preserve of A-list stars, billionaires or company executives. This trend also has a tendency to show up in low-wage jobs. In a report compiled by Bloomberg, men made more money in a shocking 264 occupations out of 265! In fact, the report explains that only by being “butlers, valets, house sitters and shoe shiners” can females out-earn a male.
Perhaps it is best to follow the Theron approach.
It was also found that Charlize Theron made less than Chris Hemsworth in the Snow White adaptation ‘The Huntsman’. But this is where perhaps women in the workplace have gone wrong. The solution is not to merely accept it like Adams has done, or to make sure you’re on even ground with every other female on the grid like Lawrence. Instead, fight back like Theron.
The minute she sussed out the fact that she had been paid less, a plan to get even had already been put into motion. Theron’s agents at WME started negotiating and got her a $10m increase, putting her on equal footing with Hemsworth.
According to one source, “Charlize insisted that she get paid the same money as Chris. She has a great track record, so she got the same deal.”
One thing’s for sure, a knock-on effect from the Sony hacking scandal is that there will be more sensitivity about equal pay.