Entertainment NewsOrange Is the New Black' Cast Discuss Unfair Compensation on Netflix's Hit...

Orange Is the New Black’ Cast Discuss Unfair Compensation on Netflix’s Hit Show


As the popular prison dramedy series, ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ marks its 10th anniversary since its premiere on July 11, 2013, several supporting cast members are reflecting on its success and questioning the fairness of their compensation. A New Yorker article recently shed light on the matter just before the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, initiated a strike due to unresolved issues with streamers and studios regarding streaming compensation.

‘Orange Is the New Black’ played a pivotal role in putting Netflix on the map. However, despite its global popularity and accolades, many of the recurring stars, including Kimiko Glenn, Alysia Reiner, Beth Dover, Emma Myles, Diane Guerrero, Taryn Manning, and Lea DeLaria, expressed their dissatisfaction with the “absolute bare minimum” SAG day rate they received, which was below $1,000 per episode at the beginning of the series. Despite its soaring success throughout the show’s run, several cast members had to maintain day jobs to make ends meet. The supporting actors also raised concerns about pay disparities among the non-minority cast members and the meager residuals they received after the series concluded in 2019 (for example, Myles mentioned receiving only around $20 in residuals this year).

The issue of compensation for the supporting cast has become a prominent topic during the negotiations between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). While series regulars eventually earned up to $200,000 per episode, the supporting cast members made no more than $15,000, as reported by the New Yorker. Frustration among the cast grew as they witnessed Netflix boasting increasing profits and its content chief, now co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, receiving a substantial salary (reportedly $50 million last year).

Kimiko Glenn’s TikTok, in which she disclosed receiving a mere $27.30 in overseas royalties, went viral during the writers’ strike, prompting other co-stars like Matt McGorry and Beth Dover to share similar experiences. McGorry revealed that he held onto his day job throughout the entire series. At the same time, Dover mentioned that she incurred expenses during seasons 3 and 4 since she was cast as a local hire and had to cover her travel costs.

The cast members’ frustrations echo the sentiment of one anonymous star who remarked that as the show gained popularity, they became increasingly disgruntled about their earnings, especially when they saw friends on network shows earning significantly more. The New Yorker article also pointed out that Netflix boasted impressive profits to shareholders while some of its cast members struggled to make ends meet.

Despite the financial grievances, both Netflix and Lionsgate, the production company behind ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ did not comment on the matter in the New Yorker piece.

Looking back on their iconic 10-year run, many cast members and Ted Sarandos took to social media to express gratitude for the show’s impact in embracing diversity and telling stories about women from marginalized communities. Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, the show was created by Jenji Kohan and became an ensemble hit, contributing to Netflix’s reputation as a leading provider of binge-worthy content.

As the show wrapped, the creative team, including Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann, was in the dark about viewership numbers as Netflix was relatively secretive about such data. However, after the series concluded, Netflix revealed that a staggering 105 million of its then-151 million paid subscribers worldwide had watched at least one episode of ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ Given the show’s incredible global reach and popularity, this revelation left some cast members, like Tara Herrmann, contemplating renegotiating their contracts.

In conclusion, the New Yorker article has shed light on the financial disparities faced by some supporting cast members of ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ prompting discussions about fair compensation within the entertainment industry. As the strike initiated by SAG-AFTRA continues, streaming compensation remains a significant contention between actors and studios.

Megan Dianehttps://www.projectcasting.com
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.

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