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Here's How To Fight The Hollywood Pay Gap That Screwed Over Amy Adams And Jennifer Lawrence

We talked to an expert on how to make this suck less.

During this time of "The Interview" related chaos, it's easy to forget that the hacked Sony emails revealed another disturbing truth -- that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid significantly less than their male co-stars, for the same (or, in Adams' case, more) work in the 2013 movie "American Hustle."

Now, for many, a female making seven back-end points while her male costar made nine might not be too surprising -- women do still make 77 cents to men's dollar, after all. However, hearing that this still happens in the upper echelon of Hollywood, especially to the biggest female movie star in the world right now, is like a slap in the face.

But according to the founder and CEO of The Representation Project-slash-filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the news about Adams and Lawrence isn't the exception, it's the rule.


"The entertainment industry still is a boy’s town -- a boy’s club," Newsom told MTV News over the phone. "The men of consciousness and the women leaders -- and the women have to be conscious themselves, they can’t just perpetuate the status quo -- they all need to make [equal pay] a priority and a mandate. Every department beneath them needs to know that this is the rule, the law of the land, the way things have to be, otherwise we’re not going to change things, and you’re just going to see the same old same old."

These people of consciousness that Newsom refers to -- which includes "men who are married to strong women, and have daughters" -- need to advocate to close the pay gap, since younger and less established actors don't necessarily have the Hollywood sway.

"It's hard for young and new people climbing the ladder," Newsom explained. "I do believe that it does require some women banding together with their agents and their managers. You need the Jennifer Lawrences and Reese Witherspoons and Meryl Streeps and Sandy Bullocks to come together and say, 'Something’s gotta change, here.'"

Of course, many might also make the argument that female actresses just aren't negotiating as well as their male counterparts, but Newsom argues that this is a multilayered issue -- there are far less roles written for women, so the threat of someone taking your job if you're not willing to take a smaller cut is severe for these actresses. Basically, they can't negotiate like their male counterparts can.

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"Often times they’re just told, 'This is the salary, take it or leave it, or we’re going to give this job to somebody else,'" she said. "How many actresses are really given room to negotiate? The studios can easily threaten to give the job to another actress. There aren’t that many great roles for actresses still in the entertainment industry... The studios tend to greenlight the male-dominant stories, which continue to have few female protagonists, and objectify the women that are in the film. It becomes this self-perpetuating cycle of women needing to take the job despite not making equivalent pay of their male counterparts."

If this all seems depressing -- and it is -- Newsom said there's still a lot you can do as a TV-watcher and movie-goer to help fight the pay gap.

"The average person can go see movies written and directed and produced by women," Newsom said. "Same with watching their TV shows. They can write into networks and say, 'Hey, what if this character had been a girl instead?'... They can not buy certain media, and buy and celebrate other media. That’s on the consumer advocacy side."

And on the top-down side, Hollywood can start putting more women in positions of power, like studio executive, director, or producer, while the actresses find their strength in numbers.

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"If we don’t have women behind the scenes in those power positions of producer and director and writer... they’re required, if we want to fight to ensure that women are paid equally," she said. "The women have to band together, because there’s strength in numbers, and advocate on behalf of each other. Even if they’re competitors, even if they’re [actresses] vying for the same role. They need to band together and say, ‘We’re worth more than that.’"

And if for some reason none of this means anything to you, maybe try to take a stand for America's Sweetheart.

"Jen Lawrence and Amy Adams are brilliant actresses who are at the top of their games, and they should be commanding the same salaries for equal work," Newsom concluded. "It’s a bummer that the industry thinks that they can perpetuate the idea that women are less than."

Check out MTV's Look Different resources to learn more about unequal pay and what you can do to help.