In an interview with Out Magazine, Oscar winner Emma Stone revealed that multiple male co-stars have taken lower salaries in order to match her own. “In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,” she said.
“And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily—that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, “That’s what’s 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’s no coincidence the conversation turned to gender equality: Stone was promoting her forthcoming film, “Battle of the Sexes,” about tennis icon Billie Jean King’s historic 1973 win against outspoken sexist Bobby Riggs. Regarded by many as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, King has fought for women’s equality throughout her career, earning her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “And this is Billie Jean’s feminism, and I love it—she is equality, man: equality, equality, equality,” said Stone.
It’s possible Stone’s friend and also Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence inspired her to speak out; Lawrence has been sounding the drum of Hollywood’s gender pay gap since 2015, when she penned a cutting open letter titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?” for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter. “Shameless” star Emmy Rossum scored a major windfall when she successfully negotiated with Showtime to earn a higher salary than her co-star on the series, William H. Macy, to make up for all the years she was paid far less.
From the directors of “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Battle of the Sexes” stars Stone as King and Steve Carrell as Riggs. The movie is rounded out with an eclectic cast that includes Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, and Elisabeth Shue. With an awards friendly September 22nd release date, hopefully Stone’s days of proving her worth are behind her. The fact that she ever needed to is why people like King have dedicated their lives to gender equality.