Crazy Rich Asians co-writer Adele Lim has left the franchise.
Lim reportedly will not be involved in future projects stemming from the 2018 blockbuster due to a huge disparity in pay offered to the Malaysian-born screenwriter and white co-writer Peter Chiarelli, according to an exclusive report from the Hollywood Reporter.
The outlet reported that sources said industry veteran Chiarelli received starting offers from Warner Bros. ranging from $800,000 to $1 million while Lim was offered $110,000-plus.
“If I couldn’t get pay equity after CRA, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of colour would never have been [hired for],” Lim, who departed from the project last year, told the outlet. “There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”
According to the article, Warner Bros. rationalized the disparity, given that the industry has traditionally set ranges based on experience. Lim’s first screenwriting credit was the 2018 rom-com hit. Chiarelli’s credits include 2009’s “The Proposal” and 2016’s “Now You See Me 2.”
The studio refused to deviate from the standard, and the decision was backed by chairman Toby Emmerich. Although Chiarelli offered to split his fee, prompting the studio to approach Lim with a more equal bid, Lim stood firm on her decision.
“Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
When it comes to pay equity in Hollywood, progress is slow and gaps persist. A Google document was circulated last year among TV assistants, writers and executives who were asked to provide their race, gender, and salary. The document revealed that though a woman of colour producer earned $10,000 an episode for a show on The CW network, a white woman with an identical job made $14,000.
Those in front of the camera have also pointed to significant discrepancies in pay between genders, as well as between actors of colour and those who are white.
“No one will say that a woman is getting paid less because she’s a woman of colour, but the numbers mostly end up reflecting that,” Priyanka Chopra said in an InStyle interview last year.
A Forbes magazine list of 2018’s highest-paid actresses lacked any women of colour makes the list. Taraji P. Henson revealed in her book “Around the Way Girl: A Memoir” that she was paid less than 2% of what Brad Pitt made for “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.” Moreover, Henson had to pay for three months of hotel expenses out of her own pocket.