Cast of Orange Is The New Black claim they were not fairly compensated for the success of the Netflix blockbuster – with some receiving less than £15 in royalties in a year
It was one of the first binge-worthy phenomenons for the streaming giant. But the cast of Orange Is The New Black have claimed they were not fairly compensated for the Netflix series, with some receiving less than £15 ($20) in royalties a year.
Set in the fictional Litchfield prison, the show, which ran from 2013 until 2019, followed middle-class Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, as she was locked away for transporting drug money for her girlfriend.
It became Netflix’s most-watched original production, with 105 million users tuning into at least one episode of the show.
But for many of the cast, the success hasn’t translated into money.
In 2020 Kimiko Glenn, who played inmate Brook Soso, revealed a foreign-royalty statement containing a measly £20.84 ($27.30).
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For many of the cast, the success hasn’t translated into money
She recently reposted a video on Instagram of herself opening the letter, to which her former co-star Matt McGorry, who played a corrections officer, commented: ‘Exaccctttlllyyy. I kept my day job the entire time I was on the show because it paid better than the mega-hit TV show we were on.’
Beth Dover, who played a manager at the company taking over the prison, added: ‘It actually COST me money to be in season 3 and 4 since I … had to fly myself out, etc. But I was so excited for the opportunity to be on a show I loved so I took the hit. It’s maddening.’
Some stars, including Emma Myles who played drug addict Leanne Taylor, were paid the Screen Actors Guild absolute minimum rate during filming – less than £687 ($900) a day.
Her royalty payments for the show this year total £15 ($20), whereas she receives around £458 ($600) a year for guest appearances she made on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as far back as 2004.
The series was produced by Lionsgate – which decided the cast’s payments – and distributed by Netflix.
The series regulars were eventually paid up to £152,000 ($200,000) per episode, but many of the supporting cast missed out on a big pay-day.
Netflix has been contacted for comment.