With the gender pay gap in Hollywood still clearly a prevalent issue, Natalie Portman has revealed that Ashton Kutcher received almost triple her salary for No Strings Attached.
With Portman’s performance as Jackie Kennedy in an upcoming film tipped for an Oscar nod, the pay gap controversy has once again been torn wide open in a new interview with Marie Claire UK. Portman, who starred alongside Kutcher in the 2011 romantic comedy, attributes the huge gap to Kutcher’s inflated asking price.
“I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,” she said in the interview. “His [quote] was three times higher than mine, so they said he should get three times more. I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy. Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
This certainly isn’t the first time such a disparity has been brought to light - nor the first time women have been made to feel as though such a gap is something they should accept. Most famously, leaked emails from Sony in 2015 showed that Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence was only receiving 7% of the profits for American Hustle versus the 9% that her co-stars Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale took. But even in just the last 18 months, Jessica Chastain, Scarlett Johansson and Sienna Miller amongst others have all reported unfair pay gaps.
Lawrence also felt she had to take some of the blame, writing in Lena Dunham’s newsletter: “I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early … I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled’.”
However, the fact that Lawrence successfully negotiated $20 million (£16.5 million) for her role in Passengers versus co-star Chris Pratt’s $12 million points to the fact that things may, slowly but surely, be improving. Here’s hoping - it’s 2017, and there’s really no excuse for it.