Special Agent Dana Scully is an integral part of The X-Files' success. Yet, when the show premiered in 1993, Gillian Anderson, the actress who plays her, had to fight be paid as much as her co-star, David Duchovny.
Even after nine seasons, two movies, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe, Anderson is still fighting that uphill battle.
“It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly,” Anderson told the Daily Beast about the lowball offer she received when she signed up for a six-episode reboot. “I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.” “It is...sad,” the Hannibal star said. “It is sad.”
“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself,” she wrote. “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”
Lawrence noted that she was afraid that she’d appear unlikable if she spoke out about being paid less.
“But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight,” Lawrence wrote. "I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.'"
A petition was launched to secure Tomlin and Fonda a higher pay rate. It’s unclear if the veteran actresses earned a raise, but the show is returning for season 2 on May 11.
The numbers are even worse for Black and Latino actresses, which Chris Rock pointed out to The New Yorker.
“Black women have the hardest gig in show business,” the comedian said. “You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman — if she was Black, she’d really have something to complain about.”
The wage gap is an issue in Hollywood, but it also has legs outside of the industry. Anderson lending her name to this cause may assist in making equal pay for equal work a reality.