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At a promotional event for Bradley Cooper’s latest film “Burnt,” the leading man told Reuters that he is standing in solidarity with former co-star Jennifer Lawrence in her recent attacks on the pay gap in Hollywood. The Academy Award-winning actress took to Facebook this week to promote an essay she wrote for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter e-newsletter.
Thanks to the hack of Sony and publicly released information, Lawrence learned she was paid significantly less than male co-stars Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.
“I got mad at myself,” Lawrence wrote. “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.” She went on to write that she didn’t want to come across as abrasive or too demanding when talking about salary.
Lawrence isn’t alone. When asked about Lawrence’s essay Tuesday morning, Sienna Miller shared her own personal story of experiencing the wage gap.
I walked away from a play that I wanted to do because I was offered less than half of what the other man was offered and it was just the two of us. [I did] what we have to start doing, unfortunately, at the expense of our creative dreams.
Earlier this month Ashley Judd came out about her personal story of disgusting sexual harassment at the hands of a studio executive, proving that the lack of respect for women in Hollywood extends beyond the amount they are paid.
Cooper’s solution is to meet with female co-stars prior to pay negotiations well before the films go into production. “I don’t know where it’s changing otherwise but that’s something that I could do,” he told Reuters. “Usually you don’t talk about the financial stuff, you have people. But you know what? It’s time to start doing that.”
He went on to say of former co-star Amy Adams:
She worked every day on that movie and got paid nothing. It’s really horrible actually — it’s almost embarrassing.
Unfortunately, too many women don’t know that they are paid less than their male counterparts (PDF). Unless a discussion between them occurs, women can’t find out what the discrepancy is, if at all. Those who do have the bravery to stand up, face backlash (PDF) from being excluded from professional situations like meetings, iced out of social gatherings with colleagues, accused of causing trouble, and even fired.
Women aren’t just paid less in Hollywood, the problem extends across nearly every professional occupation (PDF). At a time when the economy is still struggling to regain it’s footing, many men are out of work leaving only their spouses as the breadwinners. Some of those men are joining the fight for equality too because they know first hand how hard their spouse works and that she deserves just as much as male counterparts.
The cause is a complicated one because Hollywood looks at salaries in the millions. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who is in the top 10 percent of wage earners. But inequalities like these extend from female CEOs all the way to female workers in retail or food service.
With more high-profile recognition from those with a powerful megaphone, hopefully, we can raise awareness for the issue as a whole and finally give women the respect that is earned. One thing is for certain, we need more women like Lawrence willing to speak out and more men like Cooper ready to make change.
Watch the interview with Cooper below: