Show Me The Money: 10 Times Celebrities Demanded A Higher Paycheck For A Role

At the 2015 Academy awards, Patricia Arquette broke the air by giving a 3-minute speech on the oppression of actors in Hollywood through pay inequality. Her address stirred people up and got a heated conversation rolling that saw many actors and actresses speak out in a bid to be heard. The wage gap among Hollywood actors has, for a long time, been a matter of concern.

RELATED: The 10 Highest Paid Actors On HBO Right Now

The pay gap between male and female actors is the most widespread, with the gap getting a lot worse where black female actresses are involved. Actresses are now bold enough to stand up and demand higher paychecks for roles as per what they rightfully deserve, some even getting fired for fighting for what's theirs. Here are some of the most notable celebrities that stood up for pay equality.


Ellen is currently the highest-paid actress in primetime drama earning, $20 million per year. She had to go the extra mile to convince her producers to increase her pay in her role as Meredith Grey, and the issue initially arose when she discovered that she was earning way less than her male cast mate Patrick Dempsey.

At one point, Ellen asked to be paid $5 000 more than Patrick since she was the star. Being the main actress, the show was hers, so the network couldn't really afford to let her walk away from the series, and they relented to her demands.


The two stars on CBS`s Crime Scene Investigation got fired after refusing to appear for shooting. They were unsatisfied with a pay rise of $20,000, which would have brought up their total pay to$120,000. The two got rehired after they both requested to have their jobs back, but much to their dismay, the network repealed their salary raise.

RELATED: Top 10 Highest-Paying Celebrity Endorsement Deals

Their negotiations cost them a loss of about $1.76 million, while the network benefited from their desperation. Eads, however, denied boycotting work, claiming that he only overslept. What a twist.


These two are the Hawaii five-o stars who play Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua. They had to leave their jobs when negotiations for a pay increase went contrary to their demands. The two wanted the terms of their contract amended so that their pay was equal to their co-stars, Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.

They were offered 10-15% lower than the stars, which was unacceptable for them, so they left. Their absence was felt on the 8th season of the CBS series after they had been part of the show for seven years.


Disney walked away from the Lizzie McGuire franchise after a money dispute with Hilary Duff's manager, Susan Duff. Disney offered a $500,000 bonus for a sequel, on the condition that the first reached $50 million.

The deal was quite substantial, but Hilary's manager/mother wanted to receive the bonus immediately rather than wait. Disney quickly withdrew its offer and terminated the franchise that would have led to the production of the long-awaited sequel.


In the first Iron Man franchise released in 2008, Terrence earned way more than the film star Robert Downey Jr., probably because he had recently been nominated for the Oscars for Hustle & Flow. His reign only lasted for one film; he got fired and was replaced for the second movie after a disagreement over his pay.

RELATED: Marvel Fans May Get To See Iron Man One Last Time

The studio amended Howard's contract on the second movie to cut down his salary by $7 million in order to increase Downey's pay. The studio gave Terrence the ax when he fought against the pay cut and went ahead to hire a more cooperative actor. Don Cheadle got the job instead.


Glover had quite a miserable experience in Back To The Future. Other than disputes over his pay, he cited quite a distressful reason for his exit. The producers were trying to force him out of the series by directing his character to hang upside down, in order to reprimand him for questioning the script.

Quite a brutal punishment for such a small crime. Glover claims that the pay was too low for him to undergo such extreme levels of discomfort on set. He was offered $150,000, which unacceptable for him and by far less than the co-stars Tom Wilson and Lea Thompson.


Starring as the titular character, Harper decided to ask for a raise at the start of the third season of the sitcom Valerie. The show was receiving very positive reviews and improved ratings, so it was only fair for Harper to negotiate a better wage.

She asked for $100,000 per episode, up from the original agreement of $56,750. When the producers refused to meet her demands, she didn't show up for work and got offered a better deal to resume acting. She was, however, fired after filming one episode.


For Taraji P. Henson, if the deal is not good enough, then she's better off without it. Taraji has a track record of delivering her best on set, so it would not be fair to give her a raw deal. So, she asked for $500,000 for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

RELATED: 10 Highest Earning Actresses From 2010-2019

Despite getting an Oscar nomination for the role, she got a payment of $150,000. Taraji says that she has once turned down a role over salary negotiations that didn't pull through. She represents the plight of black actors in the Hollywood scene who have experienced racial bias in their pay.


Her impeccable performance in Basic Instinct was not worth the treatment she got. Her performance made a household name. She did not, however, get the returns she expected.

Stone recounted her experience, stating that no one wanted to pay her. She sat with her manager at her house and refused to go to work until she received her pay. The sudden fame did not benefit her as she had thought it would, and she saw the dark side of the film industry in a very distasteful way.


During the filming of NBC's sitcom Suddenly Susan in 1996, Griffin discovered that her male co-star got four times more than her pay. Her agents did not offer her any help, so she went directly to the Warner Bros TV chief and demanded a raise. She got an increase, but it was still not close to what her co-star was earning.

She again asked with confidence for a pay rise from the NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman for her part on the reality TV series My Life on the D-List. But despite all her relentless efforts, she has never been paid equal to what the guys get.

NEXT: The 10 Highest Paid Actors On Netflix Shows

More in Movies