In honor of their third annual Women In Television issue, Net-A-Porter held a television roundtable featuring Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, American Horror Story star Emma Roberts, Jane The Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez and L.A.’s Finest star Gabrielle Union.
Among one of the more prominent topics discussed at the roundtable was the issue of fair pay and negotiating a higher salary in the entertainment industry. Union, who did five seasons of the critically acclaimed BET drama Being Mary Jane, informed the roundtable of a time she helped a fellow actress get paid fairly. “Earlier this summer, there was a job I thought a friend had,” she said. “Everybody knew she had that offer, and there was a lowball attempt.”
The powers that be informed her that they were going to move on and cast another actress. From there, the role was offered to Union, who stood in solidarity with her friend, and asked her how much money she turned down. Union then used the amount her friend turned down to negotiate a higher salary.
“I have no intentions of doing it. I want her to get her money,” she continued. “This is not my job. I lose nothing. It was never my job to begin with.”
Gabrielle describing the game she had to play to get another actress paid fairly. pic.twitter.com/f6atIH1ctU
— Coontessa (@LowKei_) November 20, 2018
After Union passed on the project, she informed the next actress up for the role the amount of money her friend was offered. From there, the actress asked for the same salary the Union negotiated. This domino effect resulted in Union’s friend getting paid a higher salary than what she was originally offered.
Another issue that arose in the roundtable was the lack of inclusion behind the scenes. A source of criticism for many in the film and television industry is the whiteness of many roundtables around awards season. Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo criticized Net-A Porter for its “lack of color.”
“This day has been incredible, and there’s a ton of women in the room,” Pompeo said. “But, I don’t see enough color. And I didn’t see enough color when I walked in the room today.”
Pompeo, an outspoken advocate for inclusion, then went on to Caucasian people accountable for Hollywood’s lack of inclusion. “As Caucasian people, it’s our job, it’s our task, it’s our responsibility to make sure we speak up in every single room we walk into,” she continued. “It’s our job, because we’ve created the problem.”
Watch the riveting roundtable in the video below.