With an acting career spanning 25 years, Neve Campbell is fully aware of the pay disparity between men and women in the entertainment industry.
“I know for a fact that I’ve not been paid equally on any job for whatever position I’ve been in,” Campbell recently told Business Insider.
That isn’t unique to Campbell or the entertainment business. In fact, studies have shown that women across the board were paid 79% of what men were paid in 2014, a 21% pay gap.
Currently getting rave reviews for her turn as political strategist Leann Harvey on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” Campbell was introduced to most viewers on the 1990s Fox teen drama “Party of Five.”
“I know that when I started, I don’t want to be specific, but when I started a television series, I had worked a lot more than my male counterparts going into it,” the 42-year-old said in what might be a reference to “Party of Five.” “And I was offered quite a bit less and made quite a bit less the entire time.”
Over the years, she landed indelible roles in movies like the “Scream” franchise, “The Craft,” and “Wild Things,” among many others. And in recent years, she has popped up in small guest roles on “Mad Men,” “Welcome to Sweden,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Campbell didn’t like being paid less than her male costars, but she found the problem was deeply ingrained into the way Hollywood does business.
“My agents at the time said that’s just the way it is: Men get paid more,” she remembers. “And it’s terrible at this day and age that that still exists. How is that possible that we’re not being paid equally and that we’re having to have this conversation in 2016? It’s insane that we’re even discussing this.”
The pay gap conversation found new life in 2014, when the Sony hacking revealed that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams made less than their male costars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner for “American Hustle.” Lawrence would wait nearly a year before addressing the wage gap in Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny, saying that she was more angry with herself for not pushing harder for a higher salary.
But according to Campbell, those kinds of negotiations can be tricky for actresses.
“I haven’t had that power yet,” she said of demanding to be paid equally to her male counterparts. “Maybe, on the ‘Scream’ films. When you have a lot of weight behind you, when there isn’t a choice in the matter, then you can push. But if there’s a choice, you’re always going to get less.”
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