Update August 24, 2017, 10:10 a.m. PT: Amy Schumer has responded to Variety‘s report that she demanded equal pay for her stand-up special on her Instagram. It is Schumer’s position that she would never make a demand for identical pay in this particular instance because the men she was being compared to in the story, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, are seasoned stand-up comics who have earned the right to what they were paid.
“Hot dog dog. Thanks for chiming in on what you feel I deserve to be paid. I believe women deserve equal pay. However I don’t believe I deserve equal pay to Chris and Dave. They are legends and 2 of the greatest comics of all time,” she wrote on a photo of her holding a fake, stuffed animal-style hot dog.
She continued, ” I would like to say that I have been selling out arenas these last couple years. Something a female comic has never done. That’s a big deal to me, especially because I know I do my best every night on stage for the audience and they have a good time. I didn’t ask for the same as my friends. I did ask for more than the initial offer. I will continue to work my ass off and be the best performer I can be. The reports of me “demanding” or “insisting” on equal pay to them aren’t a true [sic].”
Schumer’s definitive defense of her colleagues, as well as her stance on this particular story, should put any notion of her pay and what she is owed for her Netflix special to bed.
Netflix is progressive in so many ways. They have content like Orange Is the New Black that pushes the diversity conversation. They have controversial series like To the Bone, which spurs debate on eating disorders. They even bring female characters to the table in shows like Girl Boss in ways that are new and edgy.
Unfortunately, there’s one area where the network missed the mark: equal pay.
Thanks to Variety, we learned the startling and unsettling news that Schumer was paid about half what her male counterparts, like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, made for her 2016 comedy special, The Leather Special.
Luckily, it seems like both parties were game to fix the problem, because the outlet reports that Schumer was able to successfully renegotiate her rate from $11 million to a more competitive rate. Chappelle and Rock were both paid $20 million for their specials.
Though the exact amount of Schumer’s increased payout is unknown, Variety reports, “she received significantly more compensation after she raised the question of fairness.”
Schumer has yet to comment on the renegotiations and neither has Netflix.
The entirety of the Variety article is well worth the read because it is hardly just Schumer who is dealing with the equal pay issue. The disparity in Hollywood is staggering. It isn’t just Netflix who is missing the mark on this topic. Multiple production companies, studios and networks aren’t paying their female and minority actors what they deserve.
But what the Schumer example proves is that even women at the top are still making significantly less than men. There isn’t a point in Hollywood where pay suddenly equals out. And that’s terrifying.
In the meantime, good for Netflix for fixing this issue. Let’s hope we see more companies following suit in the coming years.