Gabrielle Union calls out Hollywood’s pay disparity among actors of color


Gabrielle Union says more needs to be done to ensure all actors are paid fairly in Hollywood — especially those of color.

Speaking to 9 to 5ish with theSkimm, Union explained why she’s a big believer in being transparent about salary, saying the pay disparity is worse among Black actresses and calling upon her own pay negotiating experiences to illustrate the matter.

“As Black actresses, there’s almost shame involved because we get paid so much less,” Union began, noting that Black actors take note of who tops the Forbes’ highest paid celebrity list year after year.  “You’re like, ‘Oh, I’m a failure. I’m a failure!  That’s what they’re making? And I’m nowhere close.’  But that’s because Black actors don’t talk to each other.”

She says the best way to obtain better pay is by knowing what your colleagues are making. Union says studios are counting on talent to not know what to ask for because it allows them to offer a much lower salary.

“They assume, justifiably [and] rightly so, that none of us are talking and that’s how [we] screw each other,” the Bring It On star explained, noting that some studios have even been deceitful about what other actors are earning in order to trick someone into thinking they signed a great contract.  

Union says that’s more than enough reason to make actors of color want to talk money with each other, because it can save them from accepting a potentially bad deal. She says actors of color can then negotiate a better deal by asking studios, “Okay, now please tell me again why you’re low-balling me based off of nothing, hoping that I’m an idiot?”

Union closed by referencing a meme she recently saw, which read, “They know your worth. They just hope you don’t.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.