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Robin Wright Fought for Equal Pay On "House of Cards"

Robin Wright Fought for Equal Pay On "House of Cards"

By Laura Bradley

Those who watch "House of Cards" know that Claire Underwood isn’t one to suffer much nonsense from anyone. And evidently, Robin Wright is the same as her character in the best way possible. She, also refusing to tolerate bullshit, fought to be paid just as much as her House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey — and through a combination of logical tactics and firm negotiation after the show had been airing for several seasons, she won.

Wright recounted her "lean in" story for an audience at Rockefeller Foundation while promoting her new documentary, the Huffington Post reports. From the sound of it, she had a pretty simple message for Netflix: "I want to be paid the same as Kevin."

This isn't the first time Wright's "House of Cards" earnings have come up in the context of Hollywood's wage gap: her daughter, Dylan Penn, noted the disparity between Wright's and Spacey's pay last year and called it "crazy." Wright has starred in every episode of the show and, like Spacey, is listed as an executive producer. She's even directed seven episodes. Before the debut of season three, in 2014, Spacey was reportedly making $500,000 per episode on "House of Cards." Wright made $5.5 million from the show between 2014 and 2015, which would translate to about $420,000 per episode, the Huffington Post estimates.

"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,'" Wright told the audience. She added that Claire Underwood was even more popular than Frank Underwood at one point — a fact she capitalized on while negotiating her pay raise, telling the bosses, "You better pay me or I'm going to go public." Obviously, they paid her.

Wright isn't the first woman to talk about the pay gap. She follows a long line of women speaking about the pay disparities they’ve faced, which includes Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Lawrence, Gillian Anderson, and, most recently, Susan Sarandon. And now that the illustrious Claire Underwood has spoken out, we can only hope there will be more to follow.

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Photo Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images