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How Reese Witherspoon helped Big Little Lies’ TV network close its gender pay gap

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Susan Devaney
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Actress Reese Witherspoon has been credited by HBO, the TV network behind hit show Big Little Lies, as the reason behind successfully closing its gender pay gap.

Over the past few months, Reese Witherspoon has not only promoted complex and interesting female characters – like Madeline Martha Mackenzie in Big Little Lies - on screen, but she’s also fought tirelessly for equal pay through Time’s Up.

Now, it appears that Witherspoon has been successful in her fight.

“One of the things that’s come out of thinking about the [Time’s Up] movement and some conversations with Reese, who’s really at the forefront, is… we’ve proactively gone through all of our shows… and made sure that there were no inappropriate disparities in pay,” HBO executive Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter.

Witherspoon, who negotiated a pay of $1 million (£705,000) an episode for the second season of Big Little Lies, has also fought for female producers and more to be given the pay the rightly deserve.

“Where there were, if we found any, we corrected it going forward. And that is a direct result of the Time’s Up movement… I think it’s retraining all of our thinking.”

Though Casey wouldn’t reveal which HBO programs had been affected by these corrections, he did say that, now, “People are getting what they deserve. So, I’m sure they were happy, but they also shouldn’t have to fight for it.”

However, Bloys admits that it’s crucial as the success of Big Little Lies continues – Meryl Streep is now on board - to constantly consider people’s pay packets.

“But when you get into season two or three of a show and the show is a success, it is much harder to justify paying people wildly disparate numbers, and that’s where you have to make sure that you’re looking at the numbers — that they don’t end up just on the path they were on from the pilot stage,” Casey continues. “So, the thing that has been interesting about the whole [Time’s Up] movement is that it really is reminding everybody to do what’s right, and I think it’s retraining all of our thinking.”

HBO has even taken to Twitter to thank Witherspoon. 

“It’s an honour to work with someone whose talent and passion is used to lift up others,” they posted. 

“It’s an honour to work with you too!,” Witherspoon wrote back. 

Witherspoon for President in 2020? Yeah, we’re on board.

Images: Rex Features