Academy award winning actor Jennifer Lawrence is hardly fighting to keep the wolf from the door. Hunger Games star Lawrence has become an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, and of course that is to be applauded. Playing Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games made Lawrence one of the highest profile and best paid actors in Hollywood. The Richest estimates that 25-year-old Jennifer has a net worth of around $75 million, so many will feel that Lawrence’s position of wealth and privilege is hardly a position to complain about not being paid enough.
Lawrence used an essay in the Lenny to complain about inequality of pay in Hollywood. Seriously? Lawrence is undoubtedly talented and that talent has allowed her to enter the realm of the super-rich. Lawrence, even if she never works again, is set for life. She has earned more in her short career than most people will earn in a hundred life-times, and yet she still feels it is appropriate to look around with envious eyes at the earning of others who are members of the same elitist and exclusive club.
— MTV News (@MTVNews) January 1, 2016
Lawrence won an academy award for her role in Silver Lining Playbook in 2012, the same year as the first Hunger Games movie. This accolade propelled Lawrence into an even more exclusive group within the Hollywood elite. As a result of her academy award, Lawrence is now in a position to pick and choose her roles and to set her own fees. Put simply, if Lawrence is paid less than her co-stars the fault lies largely with Lawrence and her advisers.
In 2016 no-one in the western world would argue that a woman should be paid less than a man for doing the same work. No-one would argue that pay inequality in the workplace still exists and should be eradicated. That said, surely pay equality is much more important to the factory or grocery store worker who struggles week by week to feed their family.
The Daily Mail reported earlier this year that Lawrence was paid $1 million for the first Hunger Games movie. By the last installment, Jennifer pocketed a cool $15 million. The same outlet claims that Lawrence will be paid $20 million for her role in the forthcoming Passengers movie. That fee is reportedly double what leading man Chris Pratt will earn for the same movie. I wonder if Jennifer will be fighting to hand back half her fee to achieve equality with Pratt?
According to Entertainment Weekly, actor and comedian Chris Rock doesn’t have much sympathy for Lawrence and points out that if Jennifer were a black woman working in Hollywood, she would really have something to complain about.
“Black women have the hardest gig in show business. 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.”
Rock points out that, unlike Lawrence, black women struggle to land Hollywood roles and when they do get work they are paid less than men and their white counterparts.
— AllHipHopModels.com (@AllHipHopModels) January 2, 2016
In her Letter To Lenny Lawrence does at least admit that her earning less than some of her male co-stars on American Hustle was at least in part her own responsibility and partially as a result of her age and relative inexperience as a negotiator.
The fact is that in her negotiations, Lawrence agreed the fee that she believed she was worth. That negotiation is the responsibility of Jennifer and her advisers. Perhaps Lawrence should really be looking at what she has achieved and reflecting on the fact that her experiences have helped turn her into the sort of star that commands $20 million for a movie.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 31, 2015
Jennifer Lawrence would also do well to reflect on how she could used her elite and privileged position to fight inequality at the bottom of the tree rather than at the top.
What do you think about Chris Rock’s comments about Jennifer Lawrence? Do you agree? be sure to let us know in the comments below.
[Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]