We all need to bow down to the new queen, Robin Wright. The actress, who plays opposite Kevin Spacey as Claire Underwood on the Netflix original series House of Cards, recently demanded that she get equal pay as her co-star, and thankfully, she got it.
When talking to the Huffington Post, Wright said, “There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch and the matriarch are equal. And they are in House of Cards. I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.”
First things first, it’s incredible that Wright knew her value and fought for herself. It’s not that other women aren’t aware that they are just as valuable as their male co-stars; many are afraid to speak up for fear of ruining their career. It’s fantastic and brave that Wright decided it was time to make change.
What really makes me angry is that she had to threaten to go public with the information before her request for equal pay was taken seriously. Spacey reportedly was making $9 million to Wright’s $5.5 million for basically the same amount of work. Both actors carry the show, and its main plot line is the power dynamics between the couple. House of Cards can’t exist without Wright. It’s common sense that she should get paid equally. She shouldn’t have to threaten to expose anyone to get what she earns.
The best part about this story is that Wright got paid what she should and also put the story out there for everyone to hear as well. She played the game very intelligently. She wasn’t bad-mouthing the show runners like she would have if they didn’t pay her, but she was sure to tell the story, presumably to start a movement of more women in Hollywood (and everywhere) to start asking for what they deserve. It will be up to the companies to decide whether or not they want to remain a sexist company or start paying women actors as much as their male counterparts.
It’s crazy that we’re even still talking about this in 2016, but because we have to, we should definitely start the conversation by saying thanks to Wright and other women like her who are fearless leaders in closing the gender pay gap.