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Orange Is the New Black star claims cast members held second jobs due to poor salaries

Kimiko Glenn, who starred as Brook Soso on Netflix’s groundbreaking series, said, ‘We couldn’t afford cabs to set’

Inga Parkel
Tuesday 18 July 2023 05:35 BST
Kimiko Glenn shares how much she earns in Orange Is The New Black royalties

Orange Is the New Black star Kimiko Glenn has opened up about how little the cast was paid amid the Hollywood actors’ strike over poor working conditions.

The 34-year-old joined Netflix’s groundbreaking drama in its second season as inmate Brook Soso, who is thrown into prison for illegal activism.

After appearing in 44 episodes of its nine-season run, Glenn claimed she only made $27.30 (£20) in 2020 from streaming residuals, which the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, defines as “additional compensation paid to performers when a production is shown beyond the original use covered by the initial compensation”.

Glenn originally shared the “astounding” truth of her earnings in a 2020 TikTok video, in which she showed a pink SAG-AFTRA Foreign Royalties Statement that listed all of the titles of the episodes she appeared in, with the grand total of $27.30 (£20.90) at the bottom.

She later reposted the video on Saturday (15 July), following SAG’s Thursday (13 July) approval for its membership of more than 150,000 TV and film actors to join their fellow Writers Guild of America (WGA) screenwriters to begin striking against streamers and studios.

The video has since gone viral, with many commenters in shock by how little she was paid. “Bro, that’s barely enough to pay for a Netflix subscription,” one responded.

Now, in a new TikTok video, Glenn recounted the initial reaction to the video, saying: “I remember a lot of comments back when I posted that were like, ‘Guys guys guys, they got paid upfront.’

“First of all,” she argued, “whether or not we got paid upfront, my tits live on in perpetuity. I deserve to get paid for as many f***ing streams as that s*** gets.”

Glenn continued: “Second of all, we did not get paid very well, ever. And when I say didn’t get paid very well, you would die!”

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She went on to reveal that “people were still bartenders, people had their second jobs still”.

“They were f***ing famous as s***, like internationally famous – couldn’t go outside – but had to keep their second jobs because they couldn’t afford to not. We couldn’t afford cabs to set... you guys!” Glenn added.

The Independent has contacted Netflix for comment.

Her remarks come days after she spoke to The New Yorker for a piece titled, “‘Orange Is the New Black’ Signalled the Rot Inside the Streaming Economy”, which Glenn said described “many of our cast’s experience”.

“The details will astound you,” Glenn wrote in her TikTok video’s caption.

The Can You Keep a Secret? actor is among several actors, including Matilda child star Mara Wilson and romcom staple John Cusack, who are sharing horror stories from the industry.

Both SAG-AFTRA and WGA are in dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the production companies.

SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland has argued that the AMPTP “remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on key issues essential to protecting the livelihoods of working actors and performers”.

Among SAG-AFTRA’s chief demands – which are similar to those of the WGA – include increased wages, higher streaming residuals and assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

“When employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors who make the machine run, we have a problem,” SAG president Fran Drescher said in an emotional tirade against studios. “We are being victimised by a very greedy enterprise.”

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