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Emma Stone Says Her Male Co-Stars Took Salary Cuts so She Could Receive Equal Pay

Variety logo Variety 7/7/2017 Erin Nyren
© Provided by Variety

As the pay gap between male and female actors continues to pose challenges for the industry, Emma Stone has revealed that her male co-stars have taken salary cuts in the past so that she could achieve equal pay.

In a discussion with tennis pro Billie Jean King, who Stone portrays in her upcoming film “Battle of the Sexes,” and co-star Andrea Riseborough for Out magazine, the topic of gender pay parity arose.

“In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair,” Stone said. “That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, ‘That’s what’s fair.'”

Stone continued that if her male co-star who has a higher quote — or standard rate based on previous performances — takes a cut so she can match him, her quote can be increased in the future.

King brought up the responsibility men have to further women’s causes as well. “You just gave an example of why men are so vital to these changes — because they’re usually in the power position, and if they start to change the paradigms, things start to shift,” she said.

The trio also discussed the difficulty women face when asking for higher pay. Riseborough said she’s been “number one” in films before and still received lower pay than her male co-stars. When asked by King if she tried for a raise, Riseborough responded that she did, but “there’s this underlying feeling that you’re supposed to be grateful.”

“Oh, yeah, we’re supposed to be happy with the crumbs,” King said. “I talk about that in my speeches — that women deserve the cake, the icing, and the cherry on top as well, just like the men. So let’s go for it.”

“Battle of the Sexes” — set against the famous 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match between King and Bobby Riggs after Riggs said he could beat any woman he played — chronicles King’s internal struggle with her sexuality. Riseborough plays Marilyn Barnett, King’s hairdresser with whom she had a relationship.

Other female stars have spoken out about the pay gap, including Natalie Portman, who claimed she was paid three times less than her male co-star Ashton Kutcher in 2011’s “No Strings Attached.” Jennifer Lawrence penned an open letter for Lena Dunham’s Lenny letter on the subject after it was revealed both she and co-star Amy Adams were paid less than their male co-stars in “American Hustle.”

“Battle of the Sexes” hits theaters on Sept. 22.

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