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‘Orange Is The New Black’ Cast Unhappy with Netflix Pay, Say They Were “Never Fairly Compensated”

Orange Is the New Black, the trailblazing prison drama-comedy that helped put Netflix on the map, is now 10 years old. As the show celebrates its anniversary, several of its supporting stars are speaking out about their unfair compensation. They allege that they were paid significantly less than they should have been, and that they weren’t even given raises as the show’s popularity grew.

Their concerns are echoed by the broader union movement. Just days after the OITNB stars’ interview was published, SAG-AFTRA announced that it would be going on strike after failing to reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The strike is a major escalation in the tense negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP, and it reflects the growing frustration of actors who feel that they are not being fairly compensated for their work.


What did they supporting cast of ‘OITNB’ say about their pay?

Ten recurring stars of Orange Is the New Black, including Kimiko Glenn, Alysia Reiner, Beth Dover, Emma Myles, Diane Guerrero, Taryn Manning, and Lea DeLaria, spoke with writer Michael Schulman about being paid the “bare minimum” SAG day rate, which was less than $1,000 per episode, at the start of the series. Despite the show’s success, many cast members said they had to keep their day jobs throughout the series’ run. The actors also discussed pay disparity among the non-minority cast members and the minimal residuals they have received since the streaming series ended in 2019 (Myles even mentions she only made around $20 in residuals from the show this year).

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

A video posted by Kimiko Glenn on TikTok in the midst of the writers’ strike also recently went viral, with viewers leaving outraged comments. The video revealed that Glenn had only received $27.30 in overseas royalties from her whole time on Orange Is the New Black. This sparked similar public responses from her co-stars Matt McGorry and Dover, both of whom shared that they had also been underpaid for their work on the show.

“The first thing we say to each other when we see each other, is, like, ‘Yeah, it’s really fucked up — all my residuals are gone!’ When you’re a kid, you have this idea: once I’m on something that people actually see, I’ll be rich, and I’ll have a house that has a bathtub. And you look around after being on a hit show, and you’re, like, Wow, I’m still in the same one-bedroom apartment. Was this how it was supposed to be?”

Emma Myles, played inmate Leanne Taylor in 6 seasons out of 7

What did the anonymous stars of ‘OITNB’ say?

Source: Netflix

One star from OITNB, who chose to remain anonymous, commented that, “As the seasons progressed, we started to get more disgruntled about money, mostly because of how incredibly popular the show was. And then it felt, like, Well, my friends on network shows are incredibly wealthy.” According to The New Yorker, the actors who were series regulars were eventually paid up to $200,000 per episode, while the supporting cast only made no more than $15,000. Several other people included in the project called out Netflix for generating more revenue than ever before, while the supporting cast members were struggling to make ends meet. They also criticized Netflix co-CEO Sarandos’s rising salary which hit $50 million last year and keeps on growing, while they can’t pay above minimum wage to the cast of one of their most popular shows.