Patricia Arquette and Meryl Streep inspired Gillian Anderson to fight for equal pay after she was initially offered just half of The X-Files co-star David Duchovny’s salary.
Anderson and Duchovny reprised their roles as FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder for the 2016 sci-fi series revamp, 14 years after the original series ended, and the actress went public with her pay disparity problems as she promoted the mini-series.
“It had happened 20 years earlier, when we were doing the initial series, and then I fought for parity and won, and then was very, very surprised (when it happened again for the revamp),” she explained during an appearance on The View. “In 2015, I thought that we had moved further on from that.”
Gillian admitted she was a little hesitant at first to confront show executives about the wage dispute, but she found strength in the empowering speech given by Boyhood star Arquette as she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in early 2015, and the subsequent political campaign backed by Streep calling for lawmakers to support equal pay for equal work.
“I was surprised at how challenging I found (it) speaking out about it. I was afraid of shaming the woman who was partly in charge of making that decision,” she continued.
“It was around the time that Patricia Arquette had made the speech at the Oscars, and Meryl Streep was talking about pay equality, and just watching other empowered women stand up and say, ‘Speak the truth’ (made me stand up for myself).”
The continuing problem of inequality in Hollywood was highlighted in 2014, when the Sony Pictures hack attack revealed a number of leading women, including American Hustle actress Jennifer Lawrence, had been paid considerably less than their male co-stars for the same work onscreen.