Although some progress has been made Hollywood continues to have a representation problem — especially when it comes to behind the camera. Some of the industry's top-grossing films are lacking in female directors, and those involved in creating and starring in television and film productions have continued to fight for equality, especially when it concerns the gender pay gap. Now, thanks to the actions of Crazy Rich Asians co-writer Adele Lim, there's renewed attention on the continued pay disparity in Hollywood.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Lim, who co-wrote the first Crazy Rich Asians movie, stepped down from her job on the film's planned sequel after she discovered that her male counterpart working on the film made a reported eight to ten times more than her. Lim did not confirm her pay with The Hollywood Reporter, but sources told the publication that first offers for Lim were $110,000-plus, while offers for her male co-writer, Peter Chiarelli, were $800,000 to $1 million.
"Being evaluated that way can't help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions," she told THR. She went on to say that Hollywood often uses women and people of color as "soy sauce," or people hired to only add details of cultural significance.
As THR explained, Chiarelli, who's probably best known for writing the 2009 movie The Proposal, had been hired by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force to adapt the book of the same name by Kevin Kwan. Lim later joined as a co-writer.
Lim reportedly made the decision to walk out on the sequel last fall. According to THR, the studio had attempted to find a replacement of Asian descent for the job for five months after Lim's departure, and when one wasn't found, a salary closer to Chiarelli's was offered to Lim. She declined.
According to Lim, Chiarelli had offered to split his fee with her, but she declined. Lim told THR that Warner Brothers representatives, the studio responsible for Crazy Rich Asians had defended the offer, calling the salary an "industry-standard established ranges based on experience and that making an exception would set a troubling precedent in the business."
Lim told The Hollywood Reporter that she remained concerned about what other non-men working in the industry are being paid, saying, "Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn't be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer. If I couldn't get pay equity after CRA, I can't imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you're worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for]. There's no realistic way to achieve true equity that way."
Teen Vogue has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue