Inspired by Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper Will Now Share His Wage Info With Female Co-Stars
Jennifer Lawrence made headlines this past week (as she usually does, for many delightful reasons) for penning an essay in Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter about the gender wage gap in Hollywood. Lawrence wasn’t the first (nor will she be the last) to speak up about the disparity, and she received vocal support from a handful of actors, including her American Hustle co-star Bradley Cooper. Cooper isn’t content to just talk about the problem — he’s actually trying to do something about it.
During last year’s Sony hack scandal, emails revealed that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, arguably two of our hugest female stars, received far less pay than their male co-stars. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner (who had a smaller role in the film) all received more than the women who shared equal (or more) screen time.
In her essay for Lenny (which you should read in full), Lawrence lamented her inability / unwillingness to negotiate for a higher pay rate, explaining that she — like many women in Hollywood — did not want to seem difficult for asking for fair pay. Lawrence’s essay inspired support from Jessica Chastain, Hillary Clinton and Bradley Cooper (among others), with the latter deciding that talking about the problem isn’t enough.
In an interview with Reuters, Cooper said that he’s going to start sharing his wage information with his female co-stars, calling Lawrence’s essay “fantastic” and adding, “Would people listen if another woman said it?” Lawrence topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, but she and the rest of the women on that list still make far less than their male counterparts.
Cooper said that Lawrence “worked everyday on that movie and got paid nothing” and called the situation “embarrassing.” He went on to say that he hoped Lawrence’s essay would inspire other women to speak out, including their American Hustle co-star, Amy Adams.
In order to help correct the unfortunately enduring wage gap, Cooper says he’s going to start teaming up with his female co-stars during the negotiations phase in order to make sure they are aware of how much he’s being offered so they can ask for fair pay:
“I don’t know where it’s changing otherwise but that’s something that I could do,” Cooper said.
“Usually you don’t talk about the financial stuff, you have people. But you know what? It’s time to start doing that,” he added.
This is actually an incredibly smart move, and, as Vulture notes, not much different from what ensemble casts on TV sitcoms are known to do. Hopefully more male actors will take a cue from Cooper and start being transparent with their salary offers in a bid to help their female co-stars negotiate for fair pay.
And while Lawrence herself noted that it’s difficult to complain given her financial and public position, it’s that very public standing that may set an example for men and women in all fields. Women are paid less than men in nearly every vocation (except for the porn industry, funnily enough), if more men and women openly discussed their pay information with one another, perhaps we can effect some real change. It’s time to stop acting like discussing our wages is impolite or taboo and start recognizing that in order to make a difference, we need to come together.