Comedian Kathy Griffin just made me love her even more. Because she’s written an essay for Variety in which she is completely honest about the money she makes — the money, which is always less than any man she has ever worked with. Because, let’s face it, pay inequality for women in Hollywood is absolutely real, and Kathy Griffin proves it.
As Griffin explains, she is one of the most successful comedians of all time.
She has won two Emmys, a Grammy, has a New York Times bestselling book, and has been awarded a Guinness World Record for ‘Most Stand-up Specials by a Comedian’.
And yet, no matter how successful she is, when it comes to any job she does in Hollywood or in the entertainment industry at large, she is always, always, always paid less than the men doing the same thing on the same show.
In her Variety essay, Griffin says, “If you’re a woman and you think your agency is going to have your back, think again. I’ve never been in a situation where I had a Lorne Michaels or a Judd Apatow have my back. Or a studio. Or a network. I’ve been doing this shit on my own forever. And I’m 55. I’ve never been paid what the guys get. No, it’s not getting better for me. It might be getting better for Jennifer Lawrence. But I’m not 25 and a movie star.”
So how does Griffin deal with the pay equality? How does she make what is blatant sexism in Hollywood acceptable to her?
Well, while it’s never going to be acceptable, because why should it be, this is how she says she deals with it.
“The way I combat this is: I’m all about volume. I’m doing 80 cities of stand-up comedy this year on my “Like a Boss” tour. I write my own material. I don’t have a team. I’m very aware there hasn’t been a female on network late-night since Joan Rivers in 1987. All those network executives can say they believe in equality all they want. Look at your fucking DVR. There’s an African American man, there’s the gay guy, there’s a bunch of white guys.”
And yep, she is absolutely correct about all of this.
Women in the entertainment industry are treated worse than their male counterparts. They are paid less, they are treated less fairly and, in many cases, they also have much shorter careers simply because Hollywood executives still seem to think their industry should be based on how women look. And, according to their outdated and blatantly sexist beliefs, most women don’t look good after the age of 35.
My feeling, though, is this is about to change, as more and more women in the entertainment industry are speaking out about pay inequality. Kathy Griffin says she refuses to shut up about it.
“I’m a big student of my pal Suze Orman, who fully believes women should be honest about what they are making. I think it’s part of the male industrial complex to keep women quiet about what their salaries are. If the guys make more, I guarantee you they are told to shut up and not tell the girls.”
Oscar winner Patricia Arquette is also hugely outspoken about the issue of pay inequality and equal rights for women, even mentioning it in her acceptance speech.
And with successful women like Kathy Griffin and Patricia Arquette refusing to “shut up” when it comes to equal pay and equal rights for women, others will also start to voice their disgust. And when they are loud enough, and there are enough of them, that’s when things will change.
So, thanks Kathy (and, of course, Patricia Arquette). You’re doing a wonderful thing.