Robin Wright Demanded Equal Pay for Her Work on “House of Cards”—and Won

The actress and executive producer of the hit Netflix series said she threatened to go public if they refused.


National treasure Robin Wright revealed on Tuesday that she recently demanded the same salary as her House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey, who in 2014 reportedly made $500,000 per episode. If Netflix declined, Wright threatened to go public with the wage disparity. The successful ultimatum is one that her razor-sharp character on the show, Claire Underwood, would have appreciated and undoubtedly employed. 

The Huffington Post reports:

“I was like, ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin,'” Wright said at an event hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation. “It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards.”

“I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time,” she added. “So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public—and they did.”

Wright, who has since added executive producer and director credits to her name, went on to explain that it was challenging to find work after her divorce from actor Sean Penn.

“Because I wasn’t working full time, I wasn’t building my salary bracket. If you don’t build that…with notoriety and presence, you’re not in the game anymore. You become a B-list actor. You’re not box office material,” Wright said. “You don’t hold the value you would have held if you had done four movies a year like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett did during the time I was raising my kids. Now I’m kind of on a comeback at 50 years old.”

Her remarks are especially timely as more women in Hollywood step forward with their own stories of unequal pay compared with their male co-stars.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate