E! network appeared to have been embarrassed at TCA on Tuesday when a reporter asked Rose McGowan, maybe the loudest voice in the #MeToo movement, if she was uncomfortable working on her docuseries Citizen Rose with a network that just got dinged for not paying female hosts same as male hosts.
“That came about after I had done my deal,” McGowan said. “I will say, let me hang out awhile; maybe things will change.”
She continued, “That is systemic, and you can call it out against E!” but it’s everywhere, adding, “I really like the people” at the cable network.
During the Golden Globes red carpet Sunday, E!’s Giuliana Rancic got blindsided when, during a live interview with Debra Messing, the Will & Grace actor brought up the recent exit of net’s Catt Sadler. Sadler, Messing noted, said she was leaving after discovering her salary is not on par with that of her male colleague.
“I was so shocked to hear that E! does not believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts,” Messing scolded. “I miss Catt Sadler … and we stand with her. That’s something that can change tomorrow, you know? We want people to start having this conversation that women are just as valuable as men.”
Sadler said she left the network after discovering co-host Jason Kennedy had, for years, been getting “close to double” her salary.
“I have two decades experience in broadcasting and started at the network the very same year as my close friend and colleague that I adore,” she said, in a Facebook post. “How can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they’re not willing to pay me the same as him? Or at least come close? How can I accept an offer that shows they do not value my contributions” she wrote.
“How can I remain silent when my rights under the law have been violated?”
As McGowan’s TCA panel wrapped up Tuesday, Frances Berwick, president of Lifestyle Networks for NBU Cable, which includes E!, took the stage to try to talk away Messing and Sadler’s remarks, saying there has been a “lot of misinformation” in the media.
“Jason Kennedy and Catt Sadler had different roles, and therefore different salaries,” Berwick insisted. “Catt was focused on daytime; Jason Kennedy is on prime evening news, plus red carpet. Our employees’ salaries are based on their roles and their expertise, regardless of gender. So we wish Catt well, but I hope that sets the record straight on that.”
And yet, NBCU’s own NBC News is among media outlets reporting that Messing, during her red carpet appearance with Rancic, “used every second of her time on camera … to “fearlessly [call] out the network for its egregious gender pay gap while live on E.”