Shonda Rhimes Reveals She's TV's Highest-Paid Showrunner in Emotional Speech
Shonda Rhimes is finally ready to brag about herself -- and she hopes her personal success can inspire other women to celebrate both their own, and each other's, accomplishments.
During an emotional speech delivered at Elle magazine's 25th annual Women in Hollywood celebration on Monday, Rhimes reflected on her recent move from longtime home ABC to streaming giant Netflix. Though reports at the time suggested her lucrative deal with the service was in the neighborhood of $100 million, Rhimes revealed that that number was incorrect-- and the real sum (which she declined to name) gave her a prestigious title.
“I am the highest-paid showrunner in television,” Rhimes declared, earning a standing ovation.
The producer admitted that for a long time, she was embarrassed to brag about herself, a problem she shares with many other women. That's because women who talk about their accomplishments are often attacked for doing so, Rhimes said, pointing to "Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo as an example. Pompeo was widely criticized after revealing her status as the highest-paid dramatic actress on television -- and even blamed by fans for forcing out "Grey's" stars Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw thanks to her salary.
Men, meanwhile, are allowed to broadcast their achievements, Rhimes said, a double standard that applied to another Women in Hollywood attendee, Ryan Murphy, whom Rhimes called "amazingly talented." Like Rhimes, Murphy inked a whopping nine-figure contract with Netflix; but unlike Rhimes, Murphy "shouted his salary to the world and he did this gorgeous cover shoot and photo for The Hollywood Reporter," she said, "and he deserved every minute of it."
The showrunner continued:
“When I made a deal with Netflix, I let them interview my salary wrong in the press, and then I did as few interviews as possible and I put my head down and worked. In other words, I hid. I’m getting this award for inspiring other women; how can I inspire anyone if I’m hiding?”
“My point is that we need to set an example, because I am awesome and we are awesome which is another way of saying we have power. We are powerful women and when we say we have power, what we are really saying is that we deserve to have power. We deserve whatever good thing it is that we are getting. Demanding what you deserve can feel like a radical act.”
Rhimes closed her remarks by urging her fellow attendees to support one another.
"Come together, work together, brag together, be powerful together, and whenever we can we should be lifting one another up," she said, "because lifting someone up is what lifts us."
[via: The Hollywood Reporter]