On January 23 evening, a Google doc was reportedly shared among writers and assistants revealing their pay packages, in a bid to “achieve parity”. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in the survey, writers were asked for their gender and if they are a person of color and the network and the studio they work for on top of their per-episode quotes, all without revealing their identities.
Hey folks. I received a copy of a google doc put together by TV writers where they are sharing their salaries. There are both men and women on here. If you are a TV writer you can add to this anonymously. https://t.co/QwLLs3Ybri
— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) January 23, 2018
This survey was apparently triggered by a recent story on Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo speaking about how it took a year for her to earn the same as former lead Patrick Dempsey.
“At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, “I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house,” she was quoted as saying.
The survey revealed discrimination in terms of gender and colour especially when a female person of color working as a co-producer on a CW show produced by CBS Television Studios said she earns $10,000 per episode, while a white woman working on a CW show also produced by CBS Television Studios earns $14,000 per episode (of a 13-episode show).
So far, 78 assistants, 93 staff writers, one TV executive, 18 writers of pilot series have opened up about their earnings. With the Time’s Up initiative gathering momentum in addition to women speaking up against the gender disparity and abuse, the survey couldn’t have come out at a better time.
Feature Image: WAMC.org