After more than two decades as one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon has become one of the biggest power players in Hollywood, both on-screen and off. The Academy Award-winning actress, who is also currently one of the most in-demand producers in the entertainment industry, has been using her clout to tackle some serious issues plaguing Hollywood.
As one of the founding members of the Time’s Up initiative, Witherspoon has been one of the many A-listers speaking out about the many obstacles women in Hollywood have been facing — from sexual harassment to appalling pay disparity.
And according to HBO president of programming Casey Bloys, Reese Witherspoon has been a major factor in the network reevaluating its own pay disparity.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bloys revealed that the Time’s Up moment and numerous conversations with the Big Little Lies star and producer caused HBO to do significant network self-reevaluation and right some major wrongs.
Without naming specific instances when prompted by THR, Bloys also went on to elaborate that the network isn’t just looking to fix pay parity between men and women.
He revealed that HBO is also looking to fix the pay disparity between top-billed actors and the lesser-known leading actors during the latter seasons of a hit series. He said, “When you’re putting a show together, people come in with different levels of experience and maybe some people have won awards or something that makes them stand out. But when you get into season two or three of a show and the show is a success, it is much harder to justify paying people wildly disparate numbers.”
And that’s such an important point to make, especially considering the recent and very warranted outrage regarding Netflix’s pay disparity with The Crown.
In the interview, Bloys also referenced the severely poor word choice an HBO executive made last month when speaking about the Big Little Lies pay raises, saying the comment did not reflect the network’s position and revealing that the exec in question personally reached out to each of the cast members and apologized for her comments. Bloys also reiterated that the raises were “100 percent earned and well worth it.”
For Season 2 of Big Little Lies, ALL of the leading ladies inked major pay increases, with Reese Witherspoon and fellow star and producer Nicole Kidman set to make around $1 million an episode during the sophomore run. Meanwhile, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley also received sizable salary bumps.
We’re glad that HBO is not only taking a thorough look at how it can actively close Hollywood’s pay gap, but is also properly crediting the powerful women working to make this happen.