A decade after Orange Is The New Black first premiered, several cast members are speaking out about what they believe to be unfair compensation on the hit Netflix drama.
Kimiko Glenn, who played idealistic activist Brook Soso, originally went viral in 2020 after posting a TikTok of her royalty check statement from her time working on the Netflix series. “I’m about to be so rich,” she said, panning down the titles of all 45 episodes that she appeared in only to eventually arrive at a sum total of only $27.30. The video made the rounds on social media three years ago, but with a dual SAG and WGA strike looming on the horizon, Glenn reposted the video on Instagram and earned supportive responses from her former castmates.
“Exaccctttlllyyy,” Matt McGorry, who played a corrections officer at the women’s prison, wrote in a reply to Glenn’s post in May. “I kept my day job the entire time I was on the show because it paid better than the mega-hit TV show we were on.”
“Yep,” added Beth Dover, who appeared as Linda Ferguson. “It actually COST me money to be in season 3 and 4 since I was cast local hire and had to fly myself out, etc. But I was so excited for the opportunity to be on a show I loved so I took the hit. It’s maddening.”
Dover recently expanded on the issue while speaking to The New Yorker. “They’re telling us, ‘Oh, we can’t pay you this much, because we’re pinching pennies,'” she claimed. “But then Netflix is telling their shareholders that they’re making more than they’ve ever made.
She claimed, “We have not been fairly compensated by any stretch of the imagination.”
The New Yorker report cites several more Orange is the New Black alums who shared the title of “recurring guest star.” They appeared in several episodes throughout the seasons, but were not compensated at the same rate as series regulars.
Emma Myles who appeared in six seasons as Amish meth-addict Leanne Taylor said the castmates still discuss their low wages and the lack of residuals to this day.
Myles said, “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!’ It’s always the first thing to come out of our mouths, because it’s so crazy and unjust. And everyone thinks we’re kajillionaires.”
Orange Is the New Black, created by Jenji Kohan and based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, premiered 10 years ago this week. It arrived a few months after House of Cards, earning 21 Emmy nominations and winning four throughout its seven seasons.
With negotiations extended through July 12, the Screen Actors’ Guild is presently poised to go on strike if an agreement is not met. Among SAG-AFTRA’s demands are increased minimum pay rates, improved working conditions and increased streaming residuals.
A decade later, several Orange Is the New Black cast members claim they were not fairly compensated. A decade later, several Orange Is the New Black cast members claim they were not fairly compensated