Resurfaced Conversation Reveals Leslie Jones’ Struggle with Pay Disparity in ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot: Paid Only $150K Amidst Co-Stars’ Million-Dollar Deals

In the aftermath of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes of 2023 and the spotlight on Taraji P. Henson’s rant on being undervalued, a resurfaced conversation from “Saturday Night Live” alum Leslie Jones is making its rounds.

Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones, Photo via Instagram, @lesdogggg

Starring in the critically panned female-led reboot of “Ghostbusters” in 2016, Jones reported that she had been paid the least amongst her white co-stars, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon, all of whom starred in “SNL” like Jones.

Didn’t Show Leslie the Money

Jones was initially offered payment of $67,000 for her role as Patricia “Patty” Tolan in “Ghostbusters,” which grossed $229.1 million at the Box Office worldwide, IMDb reported, with a budget of $144 million. 

She was eventually offered $150,000, Jones explained in her memoir, “Leslie F*cking Jones: A Memoir,” which came out on Sept. 19, 2023, but McCarthy made $14 million for her role as Abigail L. “Abby” Yates, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“No knock on them, but my first offer was to do that movie for $67,000,” she said. “I had to fight to get more (in the end I got $150,000), but the message was clear: ‘This is gonna blow you up—after this, you’re made for life,’ all that kind of sh-t, as though I hadn’t had decades of a successful career already. And in the end, all it made for me was heartache and one big a-s controversy.”

“But listen, I had a great time, too,” Jones said, Rolling Stone reported. “I bonded with Kate. I loved Boston, became a kind of Bostonian. We were right by Fenway [Park, home of MLB’s Boston Redsox]. We’d walk from the set through a beautiful park to the hotel. People would recognize us, come by to say hi. I loved that city. And being trained to do, and then doing, the stunts themselves? I loved that. And the crew was f—king incredible, too, really sweet and helpful.”

She added, “I think that’s why one of the worst things about that movie is that it should have been a great film. That crew deserved for y’all to see the movie we actually made. But a lot of stuff got cut for cost.”

The movie, produced by Sony Pictures, relied heavily on community support with its all-female-led narrative.

“I was being sent films of being hanged, of white guys jacking off on my picture, saying, ‘You f–king n—–. We going to kill you,’” Jones said. “Why are people being so evil to each other? How can you sit and type ‘I want to kill you.’ Who does that?”

Jones’ description of her struggle to break through to a relatively higher tier compensation level echoes Henson’s experience.

Hollywood’s Pay Problem

The “Color Purple” actress had starred in films such as “Baby Boy,” “Hustle & Flow” and “Four Brothers” and received positive reviews for her character portrayals by the time she was cast in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” However, for her role of Queenie the 2008 film, where she is listed as the third actress on the credit roll, Henson was offered a meager $100,000. Attempting to renegotiate for $500,000 in the David Fincher romantic drama, she only secured an increase to $150,000.

According to Forbes, Henson claimed the effective pay was just $40,000 after taxes and her team expenses.

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