Crazy Rich Asians writer Adele Lim quits sequel over pay disparity with white male colleague

Lim believes women and people of colour are too often brought onto projects as ‘soy sauce’ to add cultural texture

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 05 September 2019 09:00
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Crazy Rich Asians - Trailer

Screenwriter Adele Lim has quit the Crazy Rich Asians sequel over an alleged pay disparity with a white male colleague.

Lim, a Chinese Malaysian, told The Hollywood Reporter that she was offered significantly less than co-screenwriter Peter Chiarelli to work on the Warner Bros sequel.

While Lim did not provide figures, sources reportedly told the industry magazine that her starting offer was $110,000, in comparison to Chiarelli’s $800,000 to $1 million.

The original 2018 blockbuster was praised for its representation of the Asian American community, but Lim said she believes women and people of colour are too often brought onto projects as “soy sauce” to add cultural texture rather than write stories themselves.

“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” said Lim, who has also worked on One Tree Hill.

Chiarelli, whose other writing credits include Now You See Me 2 and The Proposal, reportedly offered to split his fee with Lim, but she declined the gesture.

“Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer,” she said. “If I couldn’t get pay equity after CRA, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else.”

Warner Bros declined to comment.

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