Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been praised by fans after he promised to only work on projects that pay his female co-stars the same as him.
The Avengers: Infinity War star called for all male actors to do the same, and boycott jobs where their female co-stars aren’t being paid what they deserve, in a bid to close the gender pay gap in the entertainment industry.
“Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism,” he said.
“Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it’.”
Cumberbatch’s pledge comes after Salma Hayek called for male stars to take pay cuts for equality.
The Mexican-American actress who has been a vocal campaigner against sexual harassment in Hollywood said that male stars should get less pay as a way to even things up with women.
“The actors have to say: ‘Okay, time’s up. I had a good run but now it’s also time to be generous with the actresses in the films,” she said.
“If actors ask such inflated fees it will leave nothing for the actresses. If the movie’s budget is $10 million, the male actor has to understand that if he is making $9.7 million, it is going to be hard for equality.”
Hayek was speaking at a media conference at the Cannes Film Festival where Cate Blanchett led a demonstration in support of women’s rights in the movie industry.
Miles Heffernan, Director of Discrimination Claims, said that while the same work should earn the same pay, regardless of someone’s gender, the entertainment industry is complicated.
“You can understand why a big star will always attract a bigger pay packet, because their name is expected to help sell the movie or tv show, and that doesn’t always come down to gender – for instance, I’m sure that a superstar like Meryl Streep is often paid more than her male co-stars,” he said.
“In addition, what someone is paid in the entertainment business often comes down to how good their negotiating skills are, or rather how good the negotiating skills of their agent are.
“But certainly in the modern workplace, the days of women being paid less than men for doing the same job are over.”
The producers of the hit Netflix series The Crown recently back-paid star Claire Foy $364,000 after it was revealed she was paid less than her male co-star, Matt Smith.
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