Jennifer Lawrence Shouldn’t Have To Justify Being Paid Less Than Leonardo DiCaprio

Jennifer is being paid millions of pounds less than Leo for Netflix hit Don't Look Up - even though she's top billing.

Jennifer Lawrence

by Bonnie McLaren |
Updated on

What are your plans for Christmas Eve? If you're anything like us, then you're probably going to sit back (with a lot of chocolate) and watch the new star-studded comedy, Don't Look Up, which is going to land on Netflix just in time for Christmas. The film - which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande and Meryl Streep{ =nofollow}(!) - sees Leo and Jennifer play low-level astrologists, who embark on a mission to warn mankind about an approaching comet that will destroy Earth. Festive fun!

What isn't very festive, though, is that J-Law is being paid a stratospheric amount less than Leo. In fact, 20% less according to a report from Variety, which implied Leo will be paid £22.5m, with Jennifer taking home £18.7m.

Yes, it's still a dazzling amount of money. But why is Jennifer being paid so much less? Especially when she is the first name on the call sheet for the film.

Gracefully, in an interview, she explained why she thought Leo was being paid more money - because, apparently, he is more popular at the cinema. Speaking to Vanity Fair{ =nofollow}, the actress said: 'Leo brings in more box office than I do. I’m extremely fortunate and happy with my deal.'

Even if this is true, which, in 2021, we highly doubt - J-Law has millions of fans thanks to her starring role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise - shouldn't they both be paid the same if they're both acting in lead roles? Or, here's something: as she's top billing for the film, maybe she should be paid even more than Leo. (Though she did add that Leo was 'gracious' about her having a more prominent credit, as she was number one on the call sheet.)

It's understandable why Jennifer has spoken well of her deal. After all, she is being paid a lot of money which she probably doesn't want to lose - but it goes to show the wider problem. There are countless examples of it happening in Hollywood. Amanda Seyfried once revealed she received just 10% of what one of her male co-stars was paid (fans think she was referring to Dear John, the romantic drama with Channing Tatum). Ashton Kutcher was paid three times more than Natalie Portman for No Strings Attached. And Gillian Anderson was offered 'half' of what her co-star, David Duchovny, was offered to return to The X-Files. Come on, do I need to go on?

But working in the entertainment industry or not, it's a sad truth that women are generally hesitant of asking for more money, or questioning why they might not be paid as much as their male colleagues. Which only makes the problem bigger. FYI, the gender pay gap{ =nofollow}does exist - in 2021, according to the National Office of Statistics, it's 16.1% for full-time employees in the UK.

As women, when men earn more, we can be left questioning our worth. Jennifer even said in the same interview: 'In other situations, what I have seen – and I’m sure other women in the workforce have seen as well – is that it’s extremely uncomfortable to inquire about equal pay. And if you do question something that appears unequal, you’re told it’s not gender disparity but they can’t tell you what exactly it is.'

It might be extremely uncomfortable, but women shouldn't feel as they have to ask about equal pay. If we're doing the same job as a male counterpart, we should be paid the same. It's basic. Whether it's millions, or just earning the same as your male colleagues in the office. And - like J-Law - we certainly shouldn't feel like we have to justify why we're paid less, either.

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