Catt Sadler has been a fixture at E! for more than a decade, working her way up to co-hosting E! News and lead host on Daily Pop. So when she found out that Jason Kennedy, who shares hosting duties on E! News, was making twice her salary, she took action. She did everything she was supposed to do, making the case to management for equal pay for equal experience. When that didn't work, she made a decision — and went public with it.
If you've ever found out the hard way how real the pay gap can be, you may have dreamed of telling the world how unjust and infuriating your treatment has been. Even the idea of quitting your job and making a big splash about it sounds satisfying. But Sadler takes an admirably classy way out. In a statement posted on her website this week, she notes that Kennedy is a close friend, her "TV husband," and that her decision had nothing to do with him as a person or colleague. The choice was made for her, she writes, when E! executives declined to raise her salary in kind:
"[H]ow can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they're not willing to pay me the same as him? … How can I accept an offer that shows they do not value my contributions and paralleled dedication all these years? How can I not echo the actions of my heroes and stand for what is right no matter what the cost? How can I remain silent when my rights under the law have been violated?"
Sadler is a single mother with two sons, and even for a TV host, in a climate when more women than ever are finding solidarity in coming forward about workplace mistreatment, this is a scary move. In her post, she asks the right questions about her value as an employee and as a person. If you can afford to leave a job like this, think hard about doing so, even without a public statement (which is not always the right move for everyone). The hard work to find a position that respects you should be worth it, in the end.
"I will find more work," Sadler writes. "I will create content with meaning. I will continue to pursue my passions while making my children proud. The way I see it, I have an obligation to be an agent for change."