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Emma Stone Says Her Male Costars Have Taken Pay Cuts to Achieve Salary Parity

Emma Stone
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

With a handful of major Hollywood stars choosing to speak out on behalf of gender pay equality in Hollywood, we’ve been treated to an unprecedented amount of transparency over these past few years. Major stars like Jessica Chastain, Keira Knightley, and Jennifer Lawrence have all spoken out publicly about their own negative experiences on Hollywood franchises, and each passing week, more stars are encouraged to share their own experiences. Through it all, one important theme has emerged: in many of Hollywood’s biggest franchises, female actors are not being paid as much as men.

The latest voice to join the chorus is actress Emma Stone (via Deadline), who spoke directly to her own experiences with salaries during a press junket for Battle of the Sexes. When asked about her own salary history, Stone admitted that her male costars have often taken pay cuts to ensure that the actress was able to quote a fair rate going forward in Hollywood. Here’s what Stone had to say:

[I’ve] needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life.

It shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise that the entire system is still predicated on the movement of a Hollywood star’s price tag, but this is still revealing of how far things still need to come. It’s wonderful that Stone’s co-stars are willing to take a pay cut to ensure that women are paid equally onset – and especially nice that these actors do so without inserting themselves into the narrative – but there’s still a lot of progress to be made when the accepted narrative is only that a female star can earn more if a male star earns less. And if your response to hearing this is to thump your chest about free-market economies and zero-sum outcomes, think of this: who do you think the male equivalent of Emma Stone is in Hollywood? Talent, track record, and age all included? And do you think that his costars need to take pay cuts so he can achieve gender equality? Not all actors will or should be paid the same, but equal pay for equal work still seems like a pretty good place to start.

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