Hollywood star Bradley Cooper is standing by his female co-stars regarding their pay by negotiating his contracts alongside them. He believes this kind of transparency in contract negotiations will help close the gender pay gap that exists in Hollywood. Other male stars could stand to do this too, because transparency with wages is one huge way of closing the wage gap. However, Jeremy Renner, another of the stars of “American Hustle,” as well as Marvel’s “The Avengers” franchise, says, “That’s not my job.”
And there’s the problem. Men need to stand up alongside women, because marginalized groups who don’t have much of a voice can’t do it on their own. When men say, “That’s not my job,” they’re contributing directly to the problem.
Business Insider reports that Renner says he doesn’t understand “contracts and money and all that stuff,” and it’s true that it’s very common for actors and actresses to leave that stuff up to their agents and lawyers. However, one thing Renner could do is instruct whoever does handle his negotiations to keep things open and transparent, in a show of solidarity with his female co-stars. He could help put a spotlight on the problem, instead of brushing it off the way he did.
Unfortunately, Jeremy Renner likely doesn’t think of that because he likely doesn’t care. He came under heavy fire after making a sexist remark in an interview about “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” alongside co-star Chris Evans. They both joked that Black Widow, a.k.a. Natasha Romano, was “a slut,” and “a complete whore,” because of her relationships with both Hawkeye/Clint Barton and Captain America/Steve Rogers. Evans later apologized for his comments in a sincere way, but Renner’s apology was a bit backhanded:
I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.
Because the fact that Black Widow is fictional totally makes it okay.
Renner said, according to the Business Insider piece, that he sticks to doing what he’s good at, which is performing. He knows human behavior, he understands that, but when it comes to his contract, he lets others deal with it. This just speaks to his sexist attitude towards women; if the fact that women in Hollywood make less than men really seemed unfair to him, he would a) have said something totally different, and b) tell his lawyers, agents, or whoever handles his contracts, to work openly and transparently alongside his female co-stars and their lawyers and agents.
Whether it’s conscious on his part or not, that attitude is there and it’s obvious. He doesn’t care at all.