Gina Rodriguez on Equal Pay in Hollywood

Recent controversy has emerged due to Gina Rodriguez’s declarations while on a roundtable talk accompanied by actresses Gabrielle Union, Emma Roberts, and Ellen Pompeo. While speaking about equal pay among women in Hollywood, Rodriguez seemed to have implied that Latinas in the industry have a lesser pay than black women.  Rodriguez specifically stated that,

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than black women, black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into. Because I always feel like I fail when I speak about it because I can’t help but feel already so gracious to do what I do and I feel like, culturally, I feel like I was raised to just feel so appreciative of getting here.”

 

After this statement, Gina Rodriguez has received some severe backlash on social media.  Due to previous publications that Rodriguez has made on social media and the fact her expressions have been interpreted as colorism, an intense accusatory feeling has arisen against the actress. The ambiguity behind her statement can be what has sparked said controversy.

Although she expresses gratitude for the opportunities she has had in Hollywood, by making said comparison between black and latina actresses Rodriguez makes herself appear oblivious to the fact that one can be both latina and black.  The exclusion of afro latinas is one of the main problems with her statement. However, fellow actress Gabrielle Union pointed out several other factors that contribute to the equal pay controversy. Primarily, Union highlights how fame and popularity are a very influential factor in pay besides the intersectionality that Rodriguez is pointing out.

Although Union does state an important point, it is still a problematic statement.  Certainly, we must take social status into consideration when discussing pay in the acting industry.  However, both Union and Rodriguez have unconsciously advocated exclusively for black and Latina women and have excluded Asian women from their statements.  Events such as this interview and Gina Rodriguez’s past Instagram post are clear reflections that although Hollywood has advanced in its journey towards inclusivity and intersectionality, there is still a lack of representation of minorities within the industry.