Salary disparity in Hollywood along racial and gender divides has been a hot-button issue in recent years, and former “MADtv” cast member Debra Wilson is the latest actor to come forward to share her personal story.
In an interview with “Comedy Hype News”, Wilson — who was one of the original cast members when “MADtv” debuted in 1995 — revealed that when she left the sketch-comedy series in 2003 it was because she’d caught wind that some white male actors who’d joined the cast after her were receiving higher salaries, despite the fact that she’d been there for eight seasons.
“I was a tenured cast member from the beginning, from pilot, and people were coming in after me making more than me,” Wilson said.
“And when I realized there were white male cast members who were coming in after me making more than me I went, ‘Okay, can we talk about this?’ And the answer essentially was no,” she continued.
Wilson didn’t elaborate on how much of a pay disparity she’d discovered, but explained that her decision to leave wasn’t about money, but principle.
“What I wanted to do and what I wanted to create on that show did not hit a glass ceiling,” she added. “But when I was told that ‘All the things you want to create and be on the show has a monetary value, and we don’t value it as much as the new people coming in,’ that’s when I left.”
According to Wilson, she would have been willing to stay if her concerns had been addressed.
“Had they just said, ‘You know what, Debra, we’re going to raise your salary. It won’t match his but we are going to raise it,’ I would have stayed,” she admitted.