The X-Files Reboot Makes ‘Equal Pay’ sound like Area 51

by julie.brown on February 6, 2016 - 10:22am

On January 24th, fans from all over gathered around laptops and TV sets to watch the premiere of The X-Files reboot. After nine seasons of content, which capped off in 2002, “baited breath” was the motto as everyone impatiently awaited the return of their favorite myth-busting duo. And though this revival brings the beloved 90s series into the modern era, it seems that FOX was less than eager to extend the same courtesy to leading lady Gillian Anderson.

Anderson, who plays the practical and analytical Dana Scully, said in an article by CNN published on the day of the premiere that she was initially offered “half of what they wanted to offer” to David Duchovny, the actor behind Scully’s partner, Fox Mulder. Though she received equal pay in due course, Anderson was visibly stunned by the proposal.

“It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly,” she says in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Indeed, for the show’s first three years – from 1993 to 1995 – Anderson was making less than her co-star, despite being just as central to the show. The first run of The X-Files also originally required her to stand a few feet behind Duchovny in their shared shots.

The Hollywood wage gap has been attracting more and more media attention, as other well-known actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence speak up about the issue.

Equal pay in the industry – be it the movie industry or any other – is a worrisome topic for many female students and workers, such as myself. The threat of not being considered as same, as just as valuable, looms in the distance before stepping out into the world. But speaking up about these issues and calling out such discriminatory practices – well, there’s nothing ‘alien’ in the way it’ll surely bring about change.


Source: “Gillian Anderson: I was offered less pay for ‘X-Files’ reboot, Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, Jan. 24th, 2016.


I totally understand the concept now

Your article is very insightful and superbly written. In addition, your anecdote about Gillian Anderson having to stand a few feet back from David Duchovny was honestly really interesting. I believe I could maybe explain the reasoning behind this wage gap between the two. Despite equal pay laws being established in North America, certain exceptions can be applied to these regulations since CEOs or even actors can negotiate salary based on the assets they bring to the company. Also, there are very few female actresses in leading roles on TV nowadays. Similar to modern-day sports contracts, many salaries are based on comparison to others in the business. Anderson’s loneliness at the top of Hollywood along with the potential flaws in equal pay laws could be two reasons behind her diminished salary. A huge issue we need to fix, aside from these flaws, is the issue of Anderson’s loneliness. Women rarely push for managerial or high achieving jobs and more women work minimum wage jobs. This female stereotype to stay home, raise children and do chores needs to be broken in order to allow more women to break the glass ceiling. Coupled with the fact that the United States does not have paid maternity leave, this structural problem is a major reason for wage gaps. The following article may interest you as it discusses the enormous wage gap in Alberta, Canada. Thank you for your writing a great article and I look forward to battling this problem with you in the future!

Hi Julie,

I think you make excellent points in this article and you allude to a very important issue we currently have in modern society. The fact that Gillian Anderson, who was just as central to the X-Files as David Duchovny, was initially offered half Duchovny's salary, is a disgrace and points to an unfortunate reality we have to deal with today. In addition this article was written in a concise, precise and well-structured fashion.

I would like to add that the gender wage gap is not only observed in the movie industry but on a global scale as well. In 2013, women earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned, an alarming 18% disparity. There are two major reasons for this gender wage gap: the glass ceiling and the mommy track. The glass ceiling is a virtual wall that inhibits women from climbing the corporate ladder in spite of equal levels of education as well as their other qualifications. This is evidenced by the fact that women only hold 4.6% of the fortune 500 CEO positions. This situation is very unjust seeing as though women are just as human as men and that they should treated the same way men are. Sex should be irrelevant. The mommy track refers to the minimal opportunities women have to choose from upon have birth. Upon having a child, they essentially have two options: to continue working at the same level they were prior to having birth or to compromise their careers and spend more time at home. Seeing as though many women take maternity leave, you would figure they would get some sort of compensation. However, in all but four US states, women do not receive paid maternity leave and upon returning to the work force, women usually receive less meaningful work. In other words, women are sacrificing their salaries in order to help out around the house while men continue to be greedy and earn massive sums. All of these factors combine for an eye-opening gender wage gap between men and women. This discrimination needs to end and it needs to end quickly.

Sources and Interesting Links:

The article highlights a problem that is still firmly rooted in North American society: the Gender Wage gap. Despite the passing of the Equal Pay laws, ensuring that both sexes be paid equally for the same work, there is no denying that this issue remains instilled in western society even today. As the author of this article points out, women such as X-Files’ Gillian Anderson still have to fight to receive the same salary as their male coworkers. The article highlights how this disparity is spread not only throughout the film industry, but also in other workplaces. Furthermore, it pointed out how Anderson had to stay behind her male partner to leave him the spotlight in different scenes. Although the article points out various difficulties for women in the workplace, it could have explained these difficulties with the concept of the “glass ceiling”. The latter suggests that women cannot attain the same level on the corporate ladder as men, simply because they are women. In agreement with the patriarchal world view, men are given more opportunities to lift themselves up the ladder than their female counterparts. This also applies to other minorities, even though they might possess the same qualifications as the privileged hegemonic men. This perspective provides an explanation as to why women such as Anderson struggle to climb up the ladder. The invisible ceiling limits their possibilities solely because they are not white men. Problems such as the Gender Wage gap could therefore be explained by this theoretical barrier that one inherits as a girl. However, like explained in the article, women are working hard to get rid of this ceiling limiting their potential.
You can read more about how women are breaking the glass ceiling in this article by The Guardian:

About the author

Julie Brown is a Digital Imaging and Studio Arts student at Champlain College. She is very interested in matters concerning culture and the arts, as well as youth matters, technology and social activism.