The light recently shed on the gender pay gap in Hollywood is beaming brighter than ever with the circulation of an online petition asking George Clooney to take a stand on the issue. The letter, which already bears more than 12,000 signatures, was specifically written "to urge Mr. Clooney to share his salary with his female co-stars and to insist on that they be paid fairly for their level of experience and expertise." Petition author Julie Rodriguez told Care2, the online advocacy community where she posted the call to action, that as a human rights advocate, Clooney is responsible for leading the charge in his own industry. She also explained that the petition is about more than just Hollywood paychecks. "While it’s easy to dismiss the concerns of professionals like Jennifer Lawrence as coming from a place of privilege most of us will never know, the fact is that sexism in Hollywood reflects sexism within our culture in general... Whether a woman is being paid millions less than her coworkers or just losing a few extra dollars an hour, pay inequality is unacceptable in 2015." We couldn't have said it better ourselves. This long-overdue conversation started on October 13, when Lawrence penned a strongly-worded essay titled "Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?" for Lena Dunham's newsletter Lenny. In it, Lawrence expressed her frustration and fury when she discovered, in the wake of the 2014 Sony hack, that she got paid much less than her male co-stars for American Hustle. ("Fuck that.")
Bradley Cooper, who has starred in several films with Lawrence, including American Hustle, told Reuters last week he thought her statement was "fantastic." Praise is nice, but Cooper also pledged to take action: The actor plans to start partnering with his female co-stars to negotiate fair salaries before beginning production on new films. "Usually you don't talk about the financial stuff, you have people," he said. "But you know what? It's time to start doing that."
So, Cooper's on board. And this new Clooney campaign is all well and good. But how do the odds look that Clooney will actually sign it? We're optimistic, if cautiously so. Back in May, Clooney told BBC radio that he was encouraged by the discussion brought about by the Sony leak. "The one good thing that has come out of it is the conversation in very liberal Hollywood that women aren’t being paid the same," he said. "I think it’s a very good conversation they're starting to have." Now, Mr. Clooney, let's put those words into action.