Tiffany Haddish On Gender Pay Equality: 'Ask for the Guy Fee'

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Tiffany Haddish was interviewed as part of Variety’s Power of Women feature, a series of profiles on influential actors, activists, screenwriters, producers and beyond about their work in 2018. Most of the conversations centered on what’s next for #MeToo one year out from the Weinstein allegations and the progress of Hollywood in general, which Haddish touched upon, but it’s her no-nonsense money talk that really stuck out. When asked about how she felt about her Emmy win, Haddish immediately responded, “Can I be honest? Not that much! Because I didn’t get a check with it.”


She continues:

“When people really want those Oscars so bad and those Emmys and everything so bad, I thought it was because they give you a check. Like they come out with the award and they hand you a check! I’ve been watching sports and NASCAR, horse races, championships, football games, they get a trophy, a ring, and a bonus check. But when you win an Emmy, they give you a gift bag of a bunch of things that you probably not going to really use. I like the trophy a lot, don’t get me wrong, but they could have put a check in there!

Jada [Pinkett Smith] broke it down to me and she said that it’s a big honor because that means your colleagues, the people that work in your same field, voted for you, and they like what you’re doing….[But] I care about being able to take care of my grandma, take care of my mama, my niece, my sister, and brother, and if I ever have children take care of them, create some generational wealth. And I think the only way to do that is to have some money so you can buy some land and things like that, and then buy a studio. Yeah, I need checks! I don’t think anybody’s obligated to give me anything. I only think I deserve what I work for and that’s that.”

She went on to explain that she believes part of the reason there is a gender pay disparity is because women just don’t talk about money openly enough:

“I think the reason why, a lot times, we don’t get paid the same as men do is because we don’t talk about it. I think we do need to talk about it because I sure get in there and I’m like, “Hey, Kate Hudson. How much do they pay you for that? What kind of perks do you get for that?” I didn’t know they could fill your room up with whatever kind of food you want. That’s why I done gained so much weight, because she told me about all the food you can get. I’m like, you can bring me some tacos and I want an In-N-Out burger.

You know what they say? “A close mouth don’t get fed.” And a lot of times we don’t open our mouths because we don’t even really know what we’re supposed to get. So, that’s why I do the research. I ask around. I’ve made friends with line producers that cut those checks, production managers, so I can be like, “So, on average, how much does a girl get paid for? How much does a guy get paid?” OK, I’m gonna ask for the guy fee on this one.”

Advice to live by: ask questions, be transparent, and get the guy fee.



This is a very real, very good attitude, and I’m glad she’s talking about it. It needs to become more normalized for women.

And a lot of times we don’t open our mouths because we don’t even really know what we’re supposed to get. So, that’s why I do the research.

Down here in the real world, many of us don’t know what we’re supposed to get, not just because we don’t know, or because we didn’t do the research, but because we can’t. Because there is an active and tightly controlled system in place to prevent us from finding out. They are trying hard to make sure we don’t find out. Most of us live and work in places like Lilly Ledbetter did. At my last job, it didn’t occur to me to negotiate my salary till I had been there for more than 5 years and already been promoted. When I attempted it around the time of our annual reviews, I was literally told, “Shame on you” by the (female) HR director. I was told she couldn’t “technically” fire me for asking other workers about their salaries to determine whether or not I was being compensated fairly (I was not), but I was given a long lecture about appropriateness and the way things are done and it was made abundantly clear that I would be fired if anyone in leadership found out I’d been poking around.