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TV Actors and Writers Are Anonymously Sharing Their Salaries Via Google Spreadsheets

This kind of transparency may be an essential step towards equal pay.

Writer stock photo

Shutterstock / Abscent

Ever wonder what TV actors and writers get paid? Right now over a hundred people are anonymously speaking out and sharing how much they make via shared Google spreadsheets. The anonymous documents aim to help improve salary equality by creating transparency within the community as to who exactly is being paid what.

The two separate spreadsheets circulating online — one devoted to the salaries of TV writers, the other devoted to actors — not only list salaries, but ask for information regarding gender, whether or not the respondent is a person of color, as well as the studio and network for which they work.

While the actors sheet is no longer open for public viewing, the writers’ document is currently accessible here, and has over 100 responses, ranging from executive producers making $55,000 an episode to assistants making $500 a week.

Advocates for salary parity have made a point of stating that the first step towards equal pay is knowing what those also working in your field make — something especially important for women and people of color in the workplace, who may be paid less than their white male counterparts. Recent examples making the news include the massive disparity between what Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were paid for their  “All the Money in the World” reshoots, as well as E! host Catt Sadler’s decision to leave the network after finding out what she was being paid in comparison to her male co-host.

Responding to the issue during the Television Critics Association winter press tour, artist/activist Rose McGowan (whose upcoming documentary series “Citizen Rose” will air on E! this spring) told journalists that “if you were sitting next to a woman and you work at the same job as her right now, and you said, ‘What do you get paid?’ Let’s say you’re both there for two years. I almost guarantee you you’re being paid more. And there’s a difference, and that is systemic… You can call it out against every single job there is because it’s legal to discriminate that way.”

Talking about money, of course, is often an awkward conversation, but data-sharing like this may help to change that — and also change the financial inequality that might exist among presumed equals. Check out the writers’ document here.

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