Hollywood sexism was further revealed during the Sony hacks when it was uncovered that actress Jennifer Lawrence was paid less for American Hustle than her male co-stars (7% to their 9%). In an essay on Lenny published this week, Lawrence continued the conversation about the wage imbalance. Bradley Cooper, one of Lawrence’s American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook co-stars (who is also represented by CAA), supported Lawrence when speaking to Reuters earlier this week.
“She worked everyday on that movie and got paid nothing. It’s really horrible actually, it’s almost embarrassing,” Cooper said. In an attempt to help balance the scales, Cooper said he would start to “[team] up with his female co-stars to negotiate salaries before any film he is interested in working on goes into production.” He added: “I don’t know where it’s changing otherwise, but that’s something that I could do. Usually you don’t talk about the financial stuff, you have people [referring to agents]. But you know what? It’s time to start doing that.”
Cooper’s comments recall what Martha M. Lauzen, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, said earlier this year about accountability.
“The issue of women’s under-representation has been treated as a ‘women’s issue.’ As a result, when journalists speak with studio heads and executives, they tend to only ask the women, such as Amy Pascal at Sony and Donna Langley at Universal, about the lack of women directors,” Lauzen stated. “Men comprise the majority of studio executives. If the status of women’s employment is ever going to change, the male majority will need to lead the way.”