Newsflash: actors of color are being screwed by Hollywood.
In a salary leak more revealing than one of Kim Kardashian's selfies, new details shed light on just how little Black and Latino actors are being paid compared to their white counterparts, regardless of how popular their shows are. The stars of the most popular primetime shows on television — How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Empire — are making pennies on the dollar compared to even mediocre white stars (nice work if you can get it, Tim Allen).
Data released by Variety shows, for example, that Shondaland actresses Viola Davis (HTGAWM) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) make $250,000 per episode, far less than Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, who brings in $400,000 per episode. "That Davis, in particular, isn’t commanding more is frankly perplexing — she won the Best Actress Emmy in 2015 and was nominated again in September, and she splits her time between television and a successful movie career (including the recent summer hit Suicide Squad)," Variety writes.
The report gets even worse when it comes to Empire stars. "Further down the list still are Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, previous Oscar nominees, and the stars of the highest-rated drama on television, Fox’s Empire. They are said to earn $175,000 an episode — less than the stars of some dramas that could only aspire to achieve half of Empire’s ratings. (Their on-screen sons, Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y. Gray, are paid just $20,000 per episode.)"
There's nothing funny about the numbers on the comedy side, either. An analysis of primetime sitcoms on ABC shows that Anthony Anderson gets $100,000 an episode, while Tracee Ellis Ross’s pay is $80,000; comparatively, the core Modern Family cast, The Middle ’s Patricia Heaton and Last Man Standing’s Tim Allen all earn $250,000 an episode — despite pulling in lower ratings and less critical/awards acclaim.
Read the full depressing report here and watch the BET Breaks video above to see just how much Black talent there is in Hollywood.