Catt Sadler says she left E! in December for bigger reasons than getting only half the salary of her male co-star.
In an essay for Coveteur, the former E! News co-host said she knows that staying on the job after learning that Jason Kennedy made close to double her salary ″would mean collaborating with an evil system.”
Sadler, who the network employed for more than a decade, said she never intended to “be a voice for gender equality in the workplace.”
“I didn’t have grandiose plans to organize powerful people and roar about equal pay,” she wrote. “For me, at that time, it started out as simply the ‘right thing to do.’”
When Sadler discovered the salary discreprancy with Kennedy, she asked for a raise and was denied.
She explained her decision on her website TheCattwalk.com:
“How can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they’re not willing to pay me the same as him?” she wrote. “Or at least come close? 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?”
Last month, Frances Berwick, president of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s lifestyle networks, claimed that the salary difference between Sadler and Kennedy wasn’t because Kennedy is male.
“Catt Sadler and Jason Kennedy had different roles and therefore different salaries,” Berwick said. “Catt was focused on daytime, Jason is on prime evening news plus red carpet. Our employees’ salaries are based on their roles and their expertise, regardless of gender.”
“I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-host the same as their male co-host,” Messing said. “I miss Catt Sadler. 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.”
In her essay, Sadler said their actions amazed her.
“I was completely stunned, humbled, and frankly moved to tears more than once that day,” Sadler wrote. “The injustice that I was experiencing and naively thought was merely my own became a collective awakening in many ways.”
Sadler is quick to point out that her experience isn’t something that “happened in a vacuum”
“Countless women around the world experience workplace discrimination, and it must end,” she wrote. “Women are now, more than ever, fighting this fight out loud. They’re refusing to be silenced and are banding together to make change.”
“It’s awe-inspiring to witness Hollywood heavyweights organize and fight for what’s right in such a public way. Females in all industries are challenging the system and joining the movement.”
“This isn’t about one person or a few—it’s about us. It’s about holding each other up as sisters, challenging the status quo, and refusing to accept less than what we deserve.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.