As my colleague Kira Davis wrote earlier, Hollywood star and all-around good guy Chris Pratt fought for pay equity on the set of Jurassic World 3. Kira’s point is a solid one: Pratt deserves more because he’s the bigger draw and the lead actor. Howard deserves less because she’s neither of those things:
People pay to see Chris Pratt. You put someone with massive public appeal in a role in your film and you sell more tickets. It’s not rocket surgery. No one was going to see Jurassic World – any of the films, from the first to the last – to see Bryce Dallas Howard. She’s a beautiful woman, a talented actress and probably unfairly shadowed by her famous father. She’s got a lot going for her, but still, no one is saying, “I can’t wait to see the new Bryce Dallas Howard movie!”
(READ: Equal Pay Demands Equal Value)
The bottom line is that Pratt has more merit than Howard, more accolades, and more popularity. He worked very, very hard to get these things, and while Howard is pretty great in her own right, Pratt is just flat-out the bigger star.
He deserves more money than any other actor on that set. Giving everyone else the same amount of pay as Pratt would break the studio’s budgets and, more than that, devalue Pratt and his hard work.
But let’s leave the world of Hollywood behind for a second and hang out in regular America for a minute. In fact, let’s bring it to your workplace.
Let’s say you’re at the top in your place of work. You’ve been there for years, you’ve stayed late quite a bit, missed personal events, and put in more effort than everyone else. You’re paid well for your efforts. Then, someone else walks in and complains that the only reason they’re not paid more is that they don’t have your physical characteristics. They do half the work you do, generate less than half of the income, and they do not go the extra mile on anything.
Despite this, this person makes the demand that they get as much pay as you get, and looking to avoid a scandal, the big wigs at your job cave.
Unless you’re some kind of brainwashed drone who believes your place of work can do nothing wrong, you will be demoralized. All of your hard work means nothing, if someone else can just get it by demanding it for being different from you physically. You feel insulted that they made you jump through so many hoops and mount so many accomplishments to deserve your pay. All your colleague had to do was complain/threaten.
Because you’re human, a thought will creep into your head: “Why put in that much work, if others are just going to get paid the same as me for doing far less? Maybe I should do less.”
The demoralization will cause your work to suffer, and it won’t just be you. Other employees will begin to question why they should work so hard. Soon, the entire company will begin to decrease in profits, and if more employees demand equal pay, the company may go under.
Pay equity is communism, and communism doesn’t work. Moreover, it’s a type of communism that gets very, very personal. It victimizes the hard worker. It tells that person that they’re actually worth less because of their physical characteristics. It tells them that their pay is based on their use while others’ pay is based on who they are. It benefits only one person or people, and everyone else is to suffer including the business.
At no point should we be advocating for pay equity. Doing so would mean the death of the American worker.