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There’s a reason Netflix puts these restrictions in place: They want the special to be exclusive. But you affect a comedian’s ability to make money when you tell them they can’t go on TV and tell their own jokes. Mo’Nique has said this played into her decision to reject Netflix’s first (and only) offer. She also knows Netflix has paid other comedians more. Millions more.
Amy Schumer, for one. “According to a source, Schumer was initially paid about $11 million for her special,” Variety reported last year. And that was just her initial deal. “She received significantly more compensation after she raised the question of fairness relative to the (Chris) Rock and (Dave) Chappelle deals,” which were even higher.
Mo’Nique’s call for a boycott (which was mostly ignored or derided) was probably a strategic mistake.
“It’s hard to get people on board when you’re saying, ‘I don’t like the deal I got so you should boycott,’ ” said Imani M. Cheers, the author of “The Evolution of Black Women in Television: Mammies, Matriarchs and Mistresses.” “If she would have said, ‘I think this is a larger issue and I am one example,’ I think it might have been received differently.”
When Mo’Nique appeared on the syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club,” the hosts rejected the idea that racial and gender bias were a factor in this situation. Here’s how they framed their argument: You’re not selling out arena tours like those other comics; Netflix is a business, the executives are just crunching the numbers.
But something interesting happens (and by interesting I mean not surprising) when we look at how Hollywood determines a performer’s worth. While you'd think the mindset is all business, the reality is much fuzzier.
Mark Wahlberg is a good example because we know specific numbers. Forbes makes a list every year of overpaid actors. Two years ago he was on it. Last year, he >topped the list at No. 1. I want to stress this: He was the most overpaid actor based on box office — which for this discussion is a similar metric to selling out arenas because it tells you: Is this person drawing audiences?
Last year, Wahlberg was paid $5 million to appear in “All the Money in the World.” His co-star Michelle Williams was paid $625,000. Producers decided Wahlberg was worth $5 million even though the movie was unlikely to appeal to fans of his “Transformers” and “Ted” films. Even though his co-star had twice the Oscar nominations on her resume. Even though he is demonstrably not a good return on investment. (Domestically the movie has made only half of its budget back so far at $25 million.)
On the face of it, paying Wahlberg $5 million makes no business sense. In the "what have you done lately" test, he scores badly — but regardless, he made eight times more than his female co-star. He (and/or his reps) are hard-line dealmakers, as we saw with fees paid for the movie’s reshoots; Wahlberg's $1.5 million to Williams' $1,000.
When negotiating with white male actors, producers and executives are sometimes basing their math on (generous) wishful thinking. Despite all evidence to the contrary. Black women are not getting that same benefit of the doubt — and in fact it's the opposite.
Producer Nina Jacobson, who used to head up Disney’s Buena Vista studio, has called this phenomenon “bias disguised as knowledge.”
So while it might seem logical to think that in Mo’Nique’s case, Netflix is just looking at the numbers, we've seen how Hollywood picks and chooses who they hold to that standard.
“I applaud Mo’Nique for speaking out about what she felt was pay inequality,” said Cheers, who is also a professor of media at George Washington University. “When Mo’Nique makes the statement that she’s the most decorated comedian and she’s mocked, it’s appalling because no one even questions when a man states his worth and what he thinks he should be paid.”
Women are pegged as difficult when they bring up the pay gap, and that goes double for women of color. Judge told me about another study where he looked at the correlation between agreeableness and earnings. “And what we found is that being disagreeable greatly benefits men, but it doesn’t benefit women. So this double standard, we have proof of it.
“And knowing that, if you’re an agent representing an African-American actress, would you argue that they should engage in Mark Wahlberg tactics? Our data suggests, you can try — but it’s not going to do you any good.”
In January someone tipped off The Hollywood Reporter that “Black-ish” star Tracee Ellis Ross had revealed her own wage gap in a private Time’s Up meeting. She is currently in negotiations for the show’s fifth season and reportedly getting paid “significantly less” than co-star Anthony Anderson.
It’s clear Ross was uncomfortable when this news went public. “I wanted to be compensated in a way that matches my contribution to a show that I love for many reasons, including the opportunity it allows me to reshape what it is to be a fully realized black woman on TV,” she later posted in a statement on Twitter. “Having had my renegotiation become a public conversation was awkward, but I’m grateful for the outpouring of support. I’m truly thankful that important conversations are taking place about fighting for women’s worth and equality, and tightening the pay gap in the industry.”
Anderson helped develop the show with creator Kenya Barris and he is an executive producer as well. That isn’t a fixed job description, so we don’t know if Anderson is actually putting in considerably more work than Ross (maybe he is) or if being an EP is little more than a vanity title — which is not unusual in TV; often a couple years in on successful shows, stars will get an executive producer credit, along with the profit participation that comes with it.
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Source : http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-ent-hollywood-black-actresses-pay-gap-20180307-story.html