Battle for equal pay in Hollywood rages on

Actress Emma Stone says in her earlier movies, her male co-stars took a pay cut so that she could be paid more.
Actress Emma Stone says in her earlier movies, her male co-stars took a pay cut so that she could be paid more.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • The boss blinked first - and Oprah Winfrey won.

She had gone to her boss in the 1980s when The Oprah Winfrey Show took flight.

She was banking in more money, but the female producers on her talk show were not cashing in.

"I went to my boss at the time and I said everybody needs a raise," Firsts, Time's multimedia project featuring interviews with 46 ground-breaking women - from former United States first lady Hillary Clinton to tennis player Serena Williams to singer Selena Gomez, cited her as saying.

"And he said, 'Why?'. He said to me, 'They're only girls. They're a bunch of girls - what do they need more money for?'.

"I go, 'Well, either they're going to get a raise or I'm going to sit down.'

"I will not work unless they get paid. And so they did."

Winfrey's programme aired for 25 seasons from 1986 to 2011 and still remains one of the highest-rated talk shows in television history.

While she scored a victory in that fight for equal pay, that battle continues to rage in Hollywood.

Oscar winner Emma Stone said her male co-stars agreed to take pay cuts in her earlier movies so that she could be paid more.

Natalie Portman also criticised the staggering difference between her and Ashton Kutcher's salaries for No Strings Attached (2011).

Meanwhile, Winfrey, 63, is also lending her persuasive power to do good in another arena.

She will join singers Beyonce and Barbra Streisand, and actor George Clooney, among other celebrities, for a telethon on Tuesday to raise funds for victims of the recent Hurricane Harvey devastation in Texas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Battle for equal pay in Hollywood rages on'. Print Edition | Subscribe