In an interview Tuesday hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, Robin Wright revealed that she requested a pay increase so her wages would match co-star Kevin Spacey’s after a couple seasons of making their show House of Cards.
According to the Huffington Post, Wright—who was made an executive producer of the show for Season 4, and has started directing episodes as well—used her character’s popularity (as well as the good old threat of a media blast) as leverage for her raise:
“It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards,’” said Wright, who had been talking about the problem of equal pay for women more generally.
“I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public,’” Wright said with her trademark blinding-white grin. “And they did.”
Spacey was reportedly making $500,000 an episode, while Wright trailed him by $80,000. She’s not the first woman with a Netflix show to speak openly about pay differences; last year, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin said they were disappointed to learn supporting characters Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen were making as much as them, but later clarified that those comments were a joke gone awry.
Image via Netflix.