Catt Sadler is standing by her original assertion: that there was a major pay disparity between her and Jason Kennedy, her E! co-host.
The TV personality left the network in December after learning of the gap, and executives at E! responded to her departure by standing by the salaries they pay their employees.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” Frances Berwick, president of Lifestyle Networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, told reporters earlier this week. Berwick explained that according to E!, Sadler and Kennedy had “different roles and therefore different salaries.” She said, “We wish Catt well, but I hope that sets the record straight on that.”
Now, Sadler is sharing her thoughts on E!’s stance in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday. “My experience, frustration, and disparity was based on Jason Kennedy and myself being apples to apples. We came to the network at the same time and did similar jobs,” she said, also reacting to a blog post on Kennedy’s wife Lauren Scruggs Kennedy’s blog, which said he made less money than two of his female co-hosts, which The Hollywood Reporter points out are Giuliana Rancic and Maria Menounos.
“For people to use the argument that Giuliana somehow made more than Jason, that comparison doesn’t work. They’re apples and oranges. She joined before him, she was managing editor, she had multiple shows on the network,” she added. “The only story I can tell is my truth and the truth speaks for itself.”
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Sadler also shared what it’s been like to watch Hollywood stars like Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, and Eva Longoria defend her on live TV. They did so during E!’s coverage of the 2018 Golden Globes.
“These are women who have watched E! and have been interviewed by me for years. To witness them organically coming to my defense was truly touching,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “This isn’t a case of simply being underpaid, it’s about the gross disparity between two similarly situated equals at the network.”
Other stars have reached out to her as well.
“Jennifer Lawrence has become a friend of mine—really, a hero of mine. Long before my own experiences, her voice has been an empowering one and one I’ve always admired. To have her in my corner is hard to put into words, to be honest,” she said. “Olivia Munn is my friend and she is fearless and powerful and makes no apologies. I’m learning from these women right now.”
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Sadler explained she’s currently in talks with “powerful women in high places” to see what’s next—she’d like to focus on stories that “inspire change”—and also revealed what her two sons thought of the situation. She first told her oldest son, who is 16.
“I told him, very clearly, why I may not stay and why I would choose to leave if push came to shove. His immediate response was, ‘That’s not fair. That doesn’t make sense.’ He gets it. They both get it. My children are amazing and they’re supportive,” she said. “They are my biggest cheerleaders. They told me, ‘Mom, be brave, you got this.’ They know the short-term sacrifice and we are making some shifts in our lifestyle just to be safe, and they understand. They are me everything.”