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August 25 2017

Amy Schumer's Equal Pay Problem

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Amy Schumer says she doesn’t want “equal pay” with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle and that has a lot of people upset.

In a lengthy article that lambasts Hollywood for not paying women and people of color the same as their white, male counterparts, Variety reported that Schumer tried to renegotiate more money for her Netflix comedy special when she learned that Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle made a lot more on their specials:

Amy Schumer couldn’t have been hotter as a personality when she set a deal last year to star in a comedy special for Netflix, “The Leather Special,” which premiered in March. But when Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle made headlines for commanding eye-popping deals for $20 million per special, Schumer’s team went back to Netflix and flatly asked for more money.

Schumer was reportedly paid about $11 million for her show, but after renegotiating she walked away with significantly more – although we don’t know how much.

Social media lit up saying she didn’t deserve to paid the same as the male comedians. While others upheld the “equal pay” banner.

Amy Schumer is now trying to turn down the heat. In a semi-nude Instagram post that would make you chuck your breakfast, Schumer says:

amyschumer Hot dog dog. Thanks for chiming in on what you feel I deserve to be paid. I believe women deserve equal pay. However I don't believe I deserve equal pay to Chris and Dave. They are legends and 2 of the greatest comics of all time. I would like to say that I have been selling out arenas these last couple years. Something a female comic has never done. That's a big deal to me, especially because I know I do my best every night on stage for the audience and they have a good time. I didn't ask for the same as my friends. I did ask for more than the initial offer. I will continue to work my ass off and be the best performer I can be. The reports of me "demanding" or "insisting" on equal pay to them aren't a true. #fat #stealsjokes

The problem that Schumer probably recognized is that it’s not about getting exactly what a man earns but what you deserve. And reports are that her Netflix special just is not that good.

A number of the over 1,100 reviews of her 57 minute Netflix “Leather Special” panned the program giving it an average rating of just 1.5 stars out of a total 5 stars.

At least a CNN opinion piece acknowledged that incendiary headlines, which pit women and people of color against white men in the workplace, obscure the many factors which determine compensation:

A point often overlooked in discussions about equal pay is that there can be a range of factors that will determine any person's salary — including, for the employee, the ability, desire, and opportunity to negotiate (as Schumer did in this case). And for the prospective employer, there is the experience of the potential hire to consider, how in-demand he or she is, and the amount of work/ effort/ travel/ rearranging/ and whatever else may be required to take and complete a job.

There may be good reason that Netflix didn’t offer Schumer what they offered Rock or Chapelle initially.

More importantly, she took the right next step of negotiating for more. The lesson to learn is that if you think you deserve more, ask for it.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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