By now, we’re all pretty much well aware that the gender pay gap is alive and well (and apparently won’t be closed for about another 200 years at the rate we’re going). However, that doesn’t mean we’re not disheartened every time another story breaks about an egregious and unfair pay disparity. The latest comes on the set of Disney’s Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
According to TMZ, Johnson made a reported $13 million more than the Golden Globe-winning actress (with Johnson receiving $22 million and Blunt receiving $9 million). Many in the industry would likely argue that Johnson was offered more because his movies typically bring in more money at the box office, therefore making him more “valuable” to the production as a whole. However, given that Johnson typically only acts in major blockbusters designed to make money, and Blunt often takes on roles in more low-budget yet critically acclaimed projects, we’d argue that you truly can’t assess their value based on the profits of their previous films. Not to mention a little thing called equal pay for equal work.
It’s highly likely neither Blunt nor Johnson (a vocal feminist and proud father of daughters) knew what the other performer was earning for the project, so we’re not blaming Johnson for this major pay gap. However, we are blaming the sexist industry that allowed it to happen (and continues to allow it to happen). Some men in the industry, like Bradley Cooper, have publicly said they will work with female costars going forward and be transparent about their salaries in order to help empower women during pay negotiations.
Let’s hope that becomes the norm—not the exception. Because something needs to change.