Wright's fight for equal pay

Claire Underwood
Claire Underwood

NEW YORK • When actress Robin Wright was negotiating a pay raise that would make her earnings for Netflix drama House Of Cards equal to those of her co-star Kevin Spacey, she used a tactic that would have made her alter ego, Claire Underwood, proud: She leveraged on her power by threatening to go public about pay inequality.

Wright, who plays a calculating First Lady to Spacey's equally ruthless President Frank Underwood, told the audience at a Rockefeller Foundation event in New York on Tuesday that she had learnt the two characters were equally popular with viewers.

"So I capitalised on it," she said, according to The Huffington Post. "I was like, 'You better pay me or I'm going to go public.' And they did."

Spacey was making US$500,000 (S$690,000) an episode in 2014, according to reports, making him one of the highest-paid actors on television. That year, Wright won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for the show. Last year, Spacey won Best Actor.

Forbes reported last year that Wright's earnings were beginning to catch up with Spacey's.

A growing group of actresses has spoken out recently on pay inequality in Hollywood, spurred in part by a rousing speech made onstage by Patricia Arquette at the Oscars last year. She later said she had lost roles for the comments.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'Wright's fight for equal pay'. Print Edition | Subscribe