1:10pm PT by Bryn Sandberg
"Lots of Misinformation Out There" About Catt Sadler Salary Dispute, Says NBCU Exec
E! wants to clear the air on Catt Sadler's salary dispute.
After the E! News and Daily Pop anchor abruptly departed the network claiming a "massive disparity in pay" with her E! co-anchor Jason Kennedy, who she found out made "double" her salary, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network came under fire for not supporting equal pay for its employees.
The subject came up during a panel on Rose McGowan's new E! docuseries, Citizen Rose, where the actress and activist told reporters that the issue wasn't public until after she'd already completed her deal with the cable net. "Let me hang out awhile. Maybe things will change," she said, adding: "I really, really like the people at E! For me, I'm comfortable working there because I know what I'm doing."
Following the 30-minute panel, in which McGowan revealed she's having to sell her house to pay for legal bills fighting "the monster," NBCUniversal's president of Lifestyle Networks Frances Berwick took the stage to clarify the issue. "There is a lot of misinformation out there," said the exec, who oversees Bravo Media, Oxygen Media, Universal Kids and E! Entertainment in her role.
"Catt Sadler and Jason Kennedy had different roles and therefore different salaries. Catt was focused on daytime. Jason Kennedy is on prime, evening news, plus red carpet," Berwick continued. "Our employees’ salaries are based on their roles and their expertise, regardless of gender. So we wish Catt well, but I hope that sets the record straight on that."
The pay dispute also came up on the Golden Globes red carpet when Debra Messing called out E! for its policy on gender pay equality during her interview with host Giuliana Rancic. "I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn't believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts," said the Will & Grace star. "I miss Catt Sadler, and so we stand with her. And that's something that can change tomorrow. We want people to start having this conversation that women are just as valuable as men."