I guess there’s a silver lining in most clouds. You will recall that Sony was set for a Christmas Day 2014 premiere of “The Interview,” a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that includes a fictional assassination attempt on that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. In an effort to stop the movie’s release, hackers calling themselves “The Guardians of Peace” (GOP) hacked into Sony’s computers.
Hackers stole and revealed massive amounts of information from Sony, including some employees’ Social Security numbers, salaries of some top executives, an early script for its latest James Bond film, and embarrassing e-mail exchanges between Sony executives.
One side effect of the major hack job was that some Hollywood women found out that they were paid far less than their male counterparts. Actress Amanda Seyfried, for example, discovered that she was paid 10% of the amount paid to her male costar. Just from the timing, I would say this was for the movie “In Time,” which co-starred Justin Timberlake. Timberlake was not known for film acting at that point, though he was a bigger “draw” than Seyfried, I believe. That might account for the vast difference in compensation.
Nevertheless, at least one Hollywood actress was able to take that whole “forewarned is forearmed” thing to a new level. Though the hack did not reveal the difference in pay between Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, her male counterpart in the upcoming “Snow White and the Huntsman,” the hack did reveal that Hollywood women are often paid far less than Hollywood men. Consequently, Theron negotiated for equal pay, reportedly receiving more than $10 million.
Clearly, not every hack is bad news. Revelations such as those of the Sony hack provide “a very basic check on discrimination,” according to a spokesperson for The Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, DC. “If you don’t know whether you’re paid equally you can’t enforce your right.”
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