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Natalie Portman Was Paid Three Times Less Than Ashton Kutcher In ‘No Strings Attached’

Oscar-winning Natalie Portman.

The latest Hollywood star to speak out against the industry’s gender pay gap is none other than Natalie Portman.

The actress joins the ranks of some of Hollywood’s finest including Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron and Hillary Swank (all Oscar-winning actresses) who have experienced it first hand. Natalie has revealed she was paid three times less than her co-star Ashton Kutcher in their 2011 film No Strings Attached. Three times less.

“Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as me on No Strings Attached,” the actress recently told Marie Claire UK.


“I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood. His was three times higher than mine, so they said he should get three times more.”

No Strings Attached

The actress says she felt like complaining about it when she gets paid so much in the first place felt wrong, and so she didn’t say anything.

“I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.”

But therein lies the problem, no matter what the job, or what the pay level, woman are always making excuses for why we shouldn’t speak up.

“I don’t think women and men are more or less capable, we just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities,” she added. “We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem.”

Natalie Portman

Ashton has since taken to Twitter to praise his co-star – and other women – for speaking out.

His wife Mila Kunis made headlines last year when she revealed that she was told by a producer she would “never work in this town again” when she refused to pose half-naked to promote a film, writing an op-ed she addressed the fact that this producer “spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.” 

House Of Cards star Robin Wright proved it pays to speak up when she revealed she had to negotiate the same salary as co-star Kevin Spacey.

“There are very few films or TV shows where the patriarch and the matriarch are equal,” says Wright, who won a Golden Globe for her role as Claire Underwood in 2014.

“I was like: ‘I want to be paid the same as Kevin … You’d better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.”

House of Cards

If you think you are being short-changed at work, it’s time to stand up and close the gap. Here’s how:

1. Prove your point

“Look for information that will support your claim that you are underpaid relative to others in a similar role,’’ says human resources expert Karen Gately. “Online salary surveys, conversations with recruiters and peers in the industry can be great ways of tapping into the information you need. Know that you’re doing the right thing by challenging what you earn and asking for more.”

2. Be up-front

If you are aware that a pay gap exists with a male colleague, be firm in your expectations that steps should be taken to improve your income. “Be up-front and ask for an explanation as to why this is the case and what you can do differently to earn equal pay,’’ says Gately. “Share how your experience and capabilities compare to your peers. Focus on your own worth and why you should be paid more competitively.”

3. Suggest a range

Once you have done your research and you have a clear idea of what your salary should be, suggest an optimal salary range, such as, “I was thinking between $75,000 and $80,000.’’ Make sure the lower number is your bare minimum.

4. Silence can be golden

When discussing money it’s human nature to try to fill in awkward silences. But let things breathe. If a number is offered, ruminate on it. “Hmmm. I see.’’ Sometimes your negotiator will rush to fill the void with a counter offer, or offer other incentives such as a car parking spot or additional leave.

5. Remain calm

Gately says that while voting with your feet and leaving the organisation might ultimately be the right move to improve your circumstances, “negotiations are rarely helped with aggressive demands or threats. Allow your manager to reflect on your request, but ask they commit to meeting with you again after they’ve had the opportunity to consider it.”

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