She’s an Oscar-winner, a Hollywood A-lister and one of the most bankable actors in the world – but all that wasn’t enough to get Jennifer Lawrence financial parity with her male co-stars in American Hustle.
The emails from Sony Pictures hacked by a group called Guardians of Peace have revealed that Lawrence was paid considerably less than Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper. She was paid seven “points” (7% of the profits), as opposed to the 9% her male co-stars and director David O Russell received.
The Daily Beast reports that an email dated 5 December 2013 sent by Andrew Gumpert, president of business affairs and administration for Columbia Pictures, the Sony subsidiary which financed American Hustle, details the lack of wage parity.
The email, which was sent to Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, reads: “Got a steve warren/gretchen rush call that it’s unfair the male actors get 9% in the pool and jennifer is only at 7pts.” Warren and Rush are Lawrence’s legal representatives.
“You may recall Jennifer was at 5 (amy was and is at 7) and WE anted in 2 extra points for Jennifer to get her up to 7. If anyone needs to top jennifer up it’s megan. BUT I think amy and Jennifer are tied so upping JL, ups AA.” “AA” and “Amy” refer to the film’s other female lead, Amy Adams; Megan is Megan Ellison, head of Annapurna Pictures, which financed the film with Columbia.
Gumpert added, “The current talent deals are: O’Russell: 9%; Cooper: 9%; Bale: 9%; [Jeremy] Renner: 9%; Lawrence: 7%; Adams: 7%.”
Pascal, who has been seriously embarrassed by the email leaks this week, replied: “There is truth here.”
The hack, which may have been the work of North Korea-affiliated hackers objecting to the portrayal of Kim Jong-un in the Seth Rogen satire The Interview,has already revealed a wide gender disparity in pay throughout Sony Pictures.
Of the 17 employees at the company who earn more than $1m a year, only one is a woman. Michael de Luca, co-president of Columbia Pictures, earns almost $1m more than his counterpart Hannah Minghella. A leaked spreadsheet from consultancy firm Deloitte revealed that in 2005, 85 out of the top 100 earners at Sony Pictures were men.
Meanwhile, one of the few female directors in Hollywood, Ava DuVernay, whose film Selma has made her the first black female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination, described other embarrassing information revealed by the leaks as “sickening and sad”.
Pascal and producer Scott Rudin exchanged racially insensitive emails speculating on Barack Obama’s taste in films, suggesting that he would enjoy the likes of 12 Years a Slave, The Butler and Django Unchained.
“I have two words: sickening and sad,” DuVernay told the trade paper Variety at the Washington premiere of Selma.
The film’s producer, Dede Gardner, added: “It’s confusing because it’s obviously a private conversation that was exposed and made public to the world, and it’s hard, I think, for people who know those people.
“I’d like to think that it can be a very valuable lesson in how powerful the slightest words can be, and how lasting and impactful they are,” she said. “It is no joke. There are not grades of racism. There’s racism.”
On Thursday, the Rev Al Sharpton condemned the emails, saying: “What is most troubling about these statements is that they reflect a continued lack of diversity in positions of power in major Hollywood studios. The statements clearly show how comfortable major studio powers are with racial language and marginalisation. Her apology is not enough; there must be moves by her studio and others to respect the African American community and reflect that respect in their hiring and business practices.”
Pascal has since been in contact with Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who also criticised the emails.