Remember the time Patricia Arquette made Meryl Streep stand up at the Oscar and shout “Yes! Yes!” by talking about ending the gender pay gap in Hollywood? That was over four years ago, and producers are still giving Arquette poor deals and finding new and creative ways to pay her less than her male co-stars.
In a new interview with the Daily Beast, Arquette says she’s chosen not to take on certain projects after finding out they were underpaying her:
“I think that I’ve been more conscious myself, and therefore pushing, asking for more equity and fairness. I’ve walked away from several jobs because they were giving me really bullshit deals that were really shitty and different from men in a really fucked up way.”
She gives an example of what she calls “false equity,” in which, at first glance, it didn’t seem like she was being offered less than the man she worked with (Arquette did not name the project or the co-star, although the Daily Beast mentions he’s won more Oscars than her). But upon closer inspection, her pay structure was different than her male co-star’s and would amount to less money overall. “I was like, oh, the structure you set up for me, I would never get paid for this,” she says. “It’s such a bullshit structure, you’d never see a penny of it. It’s fake.”
Arquette famously left women of color out of her Oscars’ speech, instead referring to women and people of color separately, and later said she regretted the “stupid wording.” In an essay for the Hollywood Reporter, she wrote: “It was my own lack of clarity backstage that made some women feel left out or slighted. This of all things makes me sad, because they are my heroes.” At least Arquette seems to be more cognizant of that now, as she mentions how pay inequity affects working-class and trans women specifically in her Daily Beast interview, and women outside of Hollywood:
“And now America’s got millions of single moms, especially if they’re single moms of color, who are making less by race, by sex, and if they’re transgender women of color, really less,” she says. “We have 1 in 5 hungry kids in America, and many of them have full-time working moms. Single moms. It can have deadly impacts. So I would like us to move forward. Unfortunately, with this president and this administration and this cabinet, I don’t really see that happening. In fact there have been rollbacks.”
Good for her for seeing the error of her ways. Shit has been messed up for a minute and continues to be, so we might as well get better at talking about it.