Former E! star Catt Sadler abruptly quit her job in late 2017, when she discovered her male co-host Jason Kennedy made twice her salary. In a new essay, she explains how the network justified the pay gap and what things have been like since her story got big.
Sadler admits in her essay for Coveteur that she didn’t quit because she was interested in starting a larger conversation about gender equality in the workplace. She says it started as the “right thing to do,” and she aired the whole mess because she didn’t want to just disappear from the channel without anyone knowing why. And the story of how E! justified the pay disparity is worth hearing:
For me, in those moments, it was important to explain how I had been wronged and how I knew in my core that to stay would mean collaborating with an evil system. Swallowing my values was not an option. What happened to me was unfair.
After exhausting all attempts to make things right, I asked the decision makers face to face, “Why?” “Why is he, in your opinion, worth so much more than I am? Is he doubly good at his job?” Their response? “We’re obviously just looking through a different lens than you.” Yes, the “he’s a male and therefore gets preferential treatment” lens.
Since quitting E!, Sadler has blown up and become a name frequently mentioned in the overall Hollywood gender reckoning; Sadler says she was moved to tears when actresses sporting the Time’s Up pin on the Golden Globe red carpet brought her story up again and again. On her old network, no less.
Sadler ends by admitting that in a way, she’d thought she was alone in her experience, but since December has heard from people everywhere, in every industry.
“Each day I hear from girls around the world, some still students, some just starting in the workplace, their mothers, their sisters, their cousins voicing their disapproval with the way things are and their hope for what is to come,” she writes.
You can read her full essay here.