Comedian Chris Rock responds to wage gap essay: ‘Black women have the hardest gig in show business’
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com
Jennifer Lawrence might not make as much as her male counterparts, but according to Chris Rock, things could be a lot harder for the star.
“Black women have the hardest gig in show business,” he said in a New Yorker profile on Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones. “You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman – if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.”
Rock’s comments regarding Joy star refer to her widely publicized essay on gender pay inequality in Hollywood published in Lena Dunham’s newsletter. The Hunger Games star was compelled to write the essay after learning she made less money than her male costars in American Hustle following last year’s Sony hack.
Lawrence – who’s nominated for a Golden Globe (her fourth nod) for her performance in Joy – was 2015’s highest paid actress in the world after raking in $52 million this year, according to Forbes. According to the same article covering actors, Robert Downey Jr. topped the list, raking in $80 million. Altogether, the 18 highest paid actresses in the world made $660 million less than the world’s 34 highest paid actors.
Understandably, Lawrence has continued to be outspoken about wage inequality since writing the essay titled, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars.”
“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony,” she wrote. “I got mad at myself. i failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”
Rock was interviewed for the New Yorker profile on Jones because of his instrumental role in helping the road comedian finally land her big break on SNL.
“I mentioned her to several managers and agents over the years. Everybody passed. Lorne [Michaels], because he’s the best at what he does, is the one who saw it. I don’t think he’d hired a cast member her age in a long time,” Rock said.
“Every black comedian in the country knew what I could do,” Jones said in the profile. “But that doesn’t mean everyone else is paying attention.”
When Michaels was searching for new female cast members for the sketch comedy show last December – amidst mounting criticism over the show’s lack of diversity – Rock asked the show runner to give Jones a chance to audition.
Now a fan favorite, Jones is the oldest cast member ever to join SNL. She’s also starring in the Ghostbusters reboot hitting theaters this summer.