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The women of Hollywood need to stop whining.

By Elliot J. Nitkin

am going to do the totally unthinkable, the inconceivable, the seemingly indefensible.  I'm going to disagree with the women of Hollywood.

I will get right to the heart of the matter:

1)  You have the mental acuity and cognitive capacity sufficient to the task of reaching your goals.

2)  Without a doubt, you are not resourceless, you do not require "inclusion riders".

3)  You are, can and should be, leaders in the artworld.

4) You have faced awful discrimination.

5) So have a lot of people.

Given that, you need to comport yourself accordingly.  You are leaders - rich leaders - with considerable power.  Whining in public to get paid another few million is unseemly, even if you do deserve it.

I know there is a lot of sexism in LaLa Land and I am certainly well versed on the problem of sexual assault in the entertainment industry.  But that is an issue you address in the courts, not in business deals.  If you want to set examples to the next generation of women, drop the victim's mentality.

Here is where I think your tale of woe - as it's been packaged for public consumption - falls apart:  You are not unique. 

There are moments of discrimination, verbal brutality from managers or clients and infuriating experiences that affect us all.  Has someone told you there is a utopia?  No one lives a utopian existence.  Yet somehow the rest of us manage to deal with it on comparatively "meager" salaries and a decided lack of adoration from the world's press.

Oh, and do not even begin to SUGGEST you are fighting for the greater good.  Ongoing political dialogue from Hollywood suggests you no longer have any idea what constitutes "the greater good".

I say this from no small amount of reflection.  I know you all worked your share of "starter" jobs.  However, many of your loyal movie fans STILL work those jobs and will, their entire lives. 

They are the people who constitute your customer base and are therefore YOUR source of income.  Thought in those terms, your approach starts to seem, condescending. 

If you think you are facing trying circumstances, please engage in the following exercise:

I wager that you would love to get a project picked up by's streaming service.

Try WORKING for 

This what the people who work for Jeff Bezos - one of the richest men in history - earn (2018):

Job Title Amazon Salary
Process Assistant $15.46/hr
FC Associate $12.59/hr
Warehouse Worker $12.53/hr
Stower $12.33/hr

Try getting by on those wages.  The highest hourly wage on the list makes the worker about $32,156.00 a year, before taxes.

Sooooo .... any takers? No? Cannot imagine why.  Some of you have necklaces worth more than that.

I was prompted to write this Blog after listening to Francis McDormand's acceptance speech at the 2018 Oscars.  She admonished the audience - well the male portions of the audience - to fund the many great stories women in Hollywood have to tell.

There are without a doubt, plenty of great stories to tell.  As an avid movie fan who is sick and tired of the X-MEN, Marvel's Universe and Star Wars movies I too want them to be told.

So let me give you two worthy contenders.

The first would be about a women who immigrates from Russia to Canada to escape the Tsar's anti-semetic tyranny.  She is raised in the hardship of turn of the century Canada, marries and has two children.  Now here is the socially relevant tension for the story line:

To put her son through university - the first in his family to graduate - she becomes an Avon lady (among the first in Canada), essentially a private business consultant, in a time when women did not start businesses.

Think "Fiddler on the Roof", but, after they immigrate to North America and Tzeitel helps Motel with the family income.

The second women, also Jewish, in Pre-WWII Poland, goes to university and gets an undergraduate and a Masters degree in mathematics at a time when women, generally, were not allowed into university.  She witnesses deadly pogroms outside her dorm-room and over-comes both gender and religious discrimination.  

Despite these REAL hardships, she marries a dapper engineer, immigrates to Canada (on one of the last boats out of Europe before the war starts) raises a family and has a life despite knowing that the rest of her family was killed in the Holocaust.  Think the mental toughness of Barbara Streisand's Katie Morosky in "The Way We Were" meeting Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone from "The Godfather", but without the violence.

Gal Gadot and Natalie Portman would both be perfect for either role.  They both need and deserve a good dramatic vehicle, AND, they are both Jews which is a real bonus (I really hate it when actors speak hebrew and it sounds like drek).

Where did I get the idea for these movies?  Is life imitating art?  Am I just gifted and imaginative?

Ok, ok, you got me.  These two women were my Grandmothers.  It's called shepping nachas, you can ask S
teven Spielberg or Barbara Streisand for a translation the next time you see them.

If it sounds like I have no pity for you, it's because I have no pity for you.  Empathy, but not pity.  Recently (2018), I decided to look up the networth of some prominent Hollywood ladies.  I researched fifty-five women.  You know what I learned?

Their combined networth is more than $15,000,000,000.00, American.

And Meryl Streep is way down this list, which was a real shocker.

Here is list (from various internet sites, more for illustrative purposes):

Rank Actress  Net Worth 
1 Salma Hyak  $ 7,000,000,000.00
2 Oprah Winfrey  $ 2,700,000,000.00
3 Julia Louis-Dreyfus  $    900,000,000.00
4 Barbara Streisand  $    390,000,000.00
5 Ellen Degeneres  $    360,000,000.00
6 Jessica Alba  $    350,000,000.00
7 Taylor Swift  $    280,000,000.00
8 Giselle Bundgen  $    270,000,000.00
9 Nicole Kidman  $    230,000,000.00
10 Jennifer Anniston  $    200,000,000.00
11 Sandra Bullock  $    200,000,000.00
12 Julia Roberts  $    170,000,000.00
13 Angela Jolie  $    160,000,000.00
14 Drew Barrymore  $    125,000,000.00
15 Reese Witherspoon  $    120,000,000.00
16 Jane Fonda  $    120,000,000.00
17 Courtney Cox  $    120,000,000.00
18 Jennifer Lawrence  $    120,000,000.00
19 Charlize Theron  $    110,000,000.00
20 Scarlett Johansson  $    100,000,000.00
21 Cameron Diaz  $    100,000,000.00
22 Kelly Ripa  $    100,000,000.00
23 Rosie O'Donnell  $    100,000,000.00
24 Meryll Streep  $      90,000,000.00
25 Heidi Klum  $      70,000,000.00
26 Emma Watson  $      70,000,000.00
27 Jennifer Garner  $      60,000,000.00
28 Lisa Kudrow  $      60,000,000.00
29 Goldie Hawn  $      60,000,000.00
30 Helen Hunt  $      55,000,000.00
31 Natalie Portman  $      54,000,000.00
32 Helen Mirren  $      50,000,000.00
33 Diane Keaton  $      50,000,000.00
34 Amy Adams  $      50,000,000.00
35 Annette Benning  $      48,000,000.00
36 Kate Blanchett  $      45,000,000.00
37 Mariska Hargitay  $      45,000,000.00
38 Tina Fey  $      45,000,000.00
39 Whoopi Goldberg  $      45,000,000.00
40 Mila Kunis  $      45,000,000.00
41 Anne Hathaway  $      35,000,000.00
42 Emma Stone  $      26,000,000.00
43 Ashley Judd  $      22,000,000.00
44 Cate Capshaw  $      20,000,000.00
45 Leslie Mann  $      20,000,000.00
46 Amy Poehler  $      18,000,000.00
47 Amy Schumer  $      16,000,000.00
48 Emily Blunt  $      16,000,000.00
49 Francis McDormand  $      15,500,000.00
50 Octavia Spencer  $      12,000,000.00
51 Viola Davis  $      12,000,000.00
52 Laura Dern  $      12,000,000.00
53 Jane Lynch  $      10,000,000.00
54 Anna Kendrick  $      10,000,000.00
55 Amanda Seyfried  $      10,000,000.00
Total  $15,521,500,000.00

Let me put this in perspective. 

These fifty-five ladies have a reported combined networth that is larger than the gross domestic product of Togo.

I am not making that up.

Then I remembered the story of United Artists.  The story is well known and you can look it up. However, if they could break out of the studio system in 1919, the fifty-five of you (along with those I left off the list and many other prominent American women like Sheryl Sandberg, Meg Whitman and Laurene Powell) can certainly issue shares in a new company, put a few hundred million in the bank, buy a script or two, hire a director, cast and crew and make a movie!!!!

I will do what I can as a Canadian movie goer and buy tickets and popcorn.  There are plenty of people who, like me, just want to be enthralled by a great movie.

So if DW Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks AND my grandmothers can do what they did, I am certain you can overcome Hollywood's tyrannical elite.

But as the bard would say, "there in lies the rub": you also might discover that running a successful multi-billion dollar business requires you to become ... ruthless.  Sometimes you have to work with some very difficult and demanding people because you cannot succeed without them and when THEY succeed in the same milieu, it goes to their head.

I know this.

The rest of the world knows this. 

Certainly, the next generation of women in my family know this.

I would encourage you to ask them.