Frances Berwick, president of NBCU Cable Entertainment’s lifestyle networks (which include E!), is disputing reports that Catt Sadler was paid less for her role on the network because she is a woman.
Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Berwick said there’s a “lot of misinformation” in the press.
“Jason Kennedy and Catt Sadler had different roles, and therefore different salaries,” Berwick said. “Catt was focused on daytime; Jason Kennedy is on prime evening news, plus red carpet. Our employees’ salaries are based on their roles and their expertise, regardless of gender. So we wish Catt well, but I hope that sets the record straight on that.”
Sadler, a former E! Entertainment Television host, has said she left the network after learning that her male co-host, Jason Kennedy, had been receiving “close to double [her] salary for the past several years.”
In a Facebook post, Sadler wrote that she and her team asked the network to pay her “what I know I deserve and were denied repeatedly.”
“I have two decades experience in broadcasting and started at the network the very same year as my close friend and colleague that I adore,” she said. “But how can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they’re not willing to pay me the same as him? 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?”
“E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender,” an E! spokeswoman said in a statement at the time. “We appreciate Catt Sadler’s many contributions at E! News and wish her all the best following her decision to leave the network.”
Debra Messing recently called out the network for the pay dispute during an interview for E! on the red carpet at the Golden Globes.
“We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity, we want equal pay,” Messing told E!. “I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. I mean, I miss Catt Sadler. 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.”