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But Why, Though? Gillian Anderson Had to Fight For Equal Pay on The X-Files Revival
The X-Files revival premieres January 25, 2016. Two-thousand and sixteen. And Gillian Anderson was offered half the salary David Duchovny was given. She didn’t take it.
My love for Gillian Anderson is deep. For proof, please see this series of tweets from last night in which I recount a nightmare I had about disappointing her.
So you can imagine my anger and frustration on behalf of the actor when I read The Daily Beast’s recent interview with her. (I guess I’m like Anderson in that way. In a 2014 interview she said, “I have feminist bones and when I hear things or see people react to women in certain ways I have very little tolerance.”) You may recall her initial pay for The X-Files was a “massive” difference from Duchovny’s back in 1993. But he also had a larger, more popular role under his belt at the time thanks to Showtime’s Red Shoe Diaries. The Daily Beast writes:
But while Scully asserted her authority at every turn, Anderson found herself fighting just to stand on (literal) equal ground with her male co-star. The studio initially required Anderson to stand a few feet behind her male partner on camera, careful never to step side-by-side with him. It was another three years before Anderson finally closed the wage gap between her pay and Duchovny’s, having become fed up with accepting less than “equal pay for equal work.”
“I have such a knee-jerk reaction to that stuff, a very short tolerance for that shit,” she went on to tell them. “I don’t know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, ‘Fuck no! No!’ I don’t remember somebody saying, ‘Okay, now you get to walk alongside him.’ But I imagine it had more to do with my intolerance and spunk than it being an allowance that was made.”
You’d think because of Anderson’s years on the series, her Emmy Award, Golden Globe, and other nominations, plus roles in the critically acclaimed The Fall and Hannibal since then would close the wage gap. You’d be wrong.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted Anderson talking about the start of revival talks, “At first, I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t until we were at a small number of episodes that I could even have the conversation. Once we agreed, negotiations happened somewhere else. There’s no point in dealing with my side [first] because, as usual, they come to me with half of what they want to offer David.”
The Daily Beast goes on to report:
“I’m surprised that more [interviewers] haven’t brought that up because it’s the truth,” Anderson says of the pay disparity, first disclosed in the Hollywood Reporter. “Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced. It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.
“Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.”
She stammers for a moment, at a loss for words. “It is… sad,” she finally says. “It is sad.” (Anderson and Duchovny ultimately took home equal pay for the event series.)
We know the wage gap is bad everywhere but it’s become a hot topic over the last year in Hollywood particularly because actors have been speaking loudly about it. But in the case of The X-Files revival it’s downright reprehensible Fox would offer Anderson half pay.