Leaked TV star salaries reveal pay gap between black and white actors

On Tuesday, Variety uncovered and published the salaries of many television stars, and in the midst of controversy over the film and television industry’s treatment of minority actors, the numbers aren’t good.

The numbers show a large pay gap between black and white actors as to how much they are paid per episode, with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson being the exception at $400,000 per episode of Ballers. But even that pales in comparison to the $1 million per episode earned by the “Big Bang Theory” cast or the $750,000 per episode earned by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, the stars of the “Gilmore Girls” Netflix revival. The “Game of Thrones” cast is also commanding at least $500,000 per episode.

While these are all shows that command high ratings, the flip side of the coin is that even minority actors in high-rated shows aren’t reaching those heights.

Gina Rodriguez, whose role in “Jane the Virgin” won her the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy in 2015, is the lowest-paid comedy star at $60,000 per episode, and Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross of “Black-ish” get $100,000 per episode and $80,000 per episode, respectively. And for drama, both Viola Davis and Kerry Washington are making $250,000 per episode of “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal” respectively. Still surprising, the highly-rated “Empire” sees its stars, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, making only $175,000 per episode.

In the last two years, the industry has found itself in controversy over the lack of minority roles and recognition, but the problem, it seems, is deeper than just getting roles. Because, apparently, even if you can break into the industry, if you’re a minority actor, you won’t make as much as your white counterparts.