Equal Pay arrives at Westworld

 Credit: Courtesy of HBO

Credit: Courtesy of HBO

By Ashley Louise

Season 2 of Westworld premiered last night, and while per usual most of us have no idea what’s going on, there is one thing we do know: the ladies are finally getting paid.

Seeing as 2018 is the year of Time's Up and #MeToo, we’ve seen an increase in conversations around equal pay, particularly in Hollywood.

From infuriating stories like Claire Foy being paid less than her male co-star for playing the actual Crown on Netflix’s The Crown, to more encouraging ones like Jessica Chastain advocating for Octavia Spencer to be paid five times the salary she was offered, the constant drumbeat of women speaking out is having a real impact.

Earlier this month, in an interview with THR, HBO boss Casey Bloys announced they “took a cold, hard look at its gender pay gaps and promptly fixed every discrepancy they could identify within their shows.” At the time of his interview, he declined to identify any specific show, but since then we’ve learned a bit more about where those discrepancies existed.

Last Thursday, Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood shared that after 25 years in the business, she was finally being paid the same as her male co-stars for the series’ third season. 

“I was just told that, you know, ‘Hey you’re, you’re getting equal pay.’ And I was like [gasp]. And I almost got emotional. I was like, ‘I have never been paid the same as my male counterparts … Never, never,'” she said in an interview with The Wrap.

This morning, on the heels of the Season 2 premiere (and seriously, wtf is going on?), we’ve learned that Thandie Newton is also in contract negotiations with HBO to be paid equally to her male counterparts.

“They’re all happening right now, and yeah, we’re all equal across the board,” Newton said of the ongoing contract negotiations. “It’s really exciting. It’s unprecedented. It’s—goodness; it shatters so much calcified pain, resentment, frustration. It just shatters it.”

When asked if she’d ever take a project again where she was paid less than her male co-stars, her answer was simple: “Fuck that.” A lady after our own heart.

If there’s one lesson that you should take away from all this, it’s that raising your voices is working. While individually, we still may struggle to get paid what we deserve, we are changing the conversation, and pushing towards a world where one day we’ll all be paid equally.

Now go get paid.