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Sony Pictures Pays Women Less Than Men and Blames Women For It

February 25, 2015

Amy Pascal, former Sony Pictures executive starts off with a non-inflammatory comment to women: “Know what you’re worth,” but this comes on the heels of her arguing that she didn’t have to pay women as much as men because women don’t know their worth. What she didn’t say is that a well-paid female executive, she exploited women that she paid less simply because it suited her.

At the Women in the World conference in San Francisco on Wednesday night, former Sony Pictures Entertainment cochair Amy Pascal responded to the controversy surrounding leaked Sony e-mails that revealed Sony had paid female actors less than their male costars for work on the same movie.

In an interview with journalist Tina Brown, Pascal acknowledged the gender inequality but suggested that the industry isn’t solely responsible for the problem—the onus lies on women, who must take it upon themselves to demand equal pay.

“Here’s the problem: I run a business,” Pascal told Brown, according to Variety. “People want to work for less money, I pay them less money.” The people Pascal is referring to are women. The hack showed that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams earned 2 percent less of the profits from American Hustle than male costars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner, The Daily Beast reported in December.

Amy Pascal exploited women because she could, and then she blamed women for it. Her argument runs along the same lines of: “I’m not racist, because those people like sitting at the back of the bus and never ask to come up front…”

It’s easy to say that women who have the ability to negotiate can negotiate more, but it’s also very easy to blame other women for not taking responsibility for something that they had no idea how to take responsibility for, namely that the documents in question were leaked–they had not been published. How are women in show business supposed to know that they are making so much less than their male co-stars? Perhaps it comes down to experience. Charlize Theron just negotiated an equal pay agreement. Amy Pascal negotiated her own equal pay contract.

At the Women in the World conference, Pascal promised that she’s since paid Lawrence more money than the 24-year-old actor made for her role in American Hustle. “Women shouldn’t be so grateful,” Pascal said. “Know what you’re worth. Walk away.”

Charlize Theron embodied that advice last month when she reportedly negotiated a salary equal to that of male costar Chris Hemsworth for the forthcoming movie The Huntsman, Universal’s prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman. The negotiation was heralded for setting a fair precedent in the wake of the Sony leak, which also showed that just one out of 17 Sony employees with a salary of $1 million or more was a woman. Additionally,leaked documents revealed that the male cochair of Columbia Pictures made nearly $1 million more than his female cochair, who had the same job.

It’s worth noting that Pascal, who stepped down as Sony cochair last week, earned the same salary as Sony chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, according to leaked internal documents. One of the last films she approved before leaving her post to launch a production arm at Sony was the anticipated all-female Ghostbusters remake. “It’s about time we have a female action series,” she said at the conference.

Hear that blaming: “women shouldn’t be so grateful”?? Why isn’t she saying that all executives have an onus to pay men and women equally? Why isn’t she taking responsibility for not paying women equal salaries? She just blames women for not asking for larger salaries. Oh that it were that easy… Amy Pascal shows a true lack of understanding of the vulnerable position the majority of these women who are starting out in the film business are in, and she exploited those same women while blaming them for their own exploitation. No wonder Amy Pascal is an executive.

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