Chris Rock has drawn attention to the issue of black female actresses being paid less than their white counterparts, which he appears to suggest is being overshadowed by the Hollywood gender pay gap debate.
Speaking to the New Yorker as part of a profile on the American comedian Leslie Jones, Rock reportedly told the writer: “Black women have the hardest gig in show business.”
Rock then referred to Jennifer Lawrence raising the issue of the gender pay gap.
“You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman – if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.”
Rock was referring to Lawrence’s open essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, where she voiced her outrage and experience of being paid less than her male counterparts.
In the article she discussed the Sony Hack which revealed she was paid much less than her American Hustle co-star Bradley Cooper.
Labelling men “lucky people with d***s”, she wrote: “I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight… I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled’.”
Lawrence recently told Reuters that if she was “one per cent responsible for starting or sparking a discussion” about the gender pay gap then she is “honoured”.
In September, Viola Davis highlighted the struggle for black actresses in her acceptance speech for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmys, in which she made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win the accolade.
Quoting Harriet Tubman she said: “In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers, and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”
She continued to thank her fellow lead black actress Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington for “taking us over that line” in a powerful and emotional speech.
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