'E! News' alum Catt Sadler responds to claims co-host Jason Kennedy had more responsibility
Catt Sadler is responding to claims that her former E! News co-host Jason Kennedy had a greater workload than her while she was at the network, and therefore, was justly paid more.
“My experience, frustration and disparity was based on Jason Kennedy and myself being apples to apples,” Sadler, 43, told The Hollywood Reporter.
A day before her THR interview was published Wednesday, E! chief Frances Berwick (president of Lifestyle Networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment) told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, California, on Tuesday that “there is a lot of misinformation out there” in regards to Sadler’s exit. (She left E! in December after she learned that Kennedy was making “double” her salary and “has been for several years.”)
“Catt Sadler and Jason Kennedy had different roles and therefore different salaries. Catt was focused on daytime. Jason Kennedy is on primetime evening news, plus red carpet. Our employee’s salaries are based on their roles and their expertise regardless of gender,” Berwick said about Sadler, who was at the network for almost 12 years. In a statement to PEOPLE at the time of her departure, an E! spokesperson said on behalf of the network and Kennedy, “E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender.”
After Sadler’s final E! News show on Dec. 19, the mother of two shared her side of the story with PEOPLE and on her blog, The Cattwalk, and asserted that the pay disparity is not Kennedy’s “fault.”
“It’s important that people don’t vilify him because he isn’t the problem — the system’s the problem, the structure’s the problem. And I really do mean that. Because that’s been a hard part of this whole thing because I love him dearly. And to be honest, he has been such a champion for me in every sense. But it’s not his decision,” she told PEOPLE.
In the wake of her leave, PEOPLE also learned that former E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic, who left her post in 2015 after more than a decade at the network, “made more than three times Jason’s salary when they hosted together.”
“For people to use the argument that Giuliana somehow made more money than Jason, that comparison doesn’t work,” Sadler told THR about the pay comparison between Kennedy and Rancic. “They’re apples and oranges. She joined before him, she was managing editor, she had multiple shows on the network.”
“It’s about the equality of one’s contributions and it’s about the equality of somebody’s past resume and what gets them to that moment,” she told PEOPLE. “If apples are apples, that’s where the equality must exist.”
Since Sadler’s departure, Kennedy has yet to publicly address the pay disparity, but his wife, Lauren Scruggs Kennedy, took to her blog to share her perspective.
“There is a difference between not being paid what you deserve and unfair pay because of gender inequality. I fully understand and am burdened for her feeling of not being paid the amount she felt she was worth, but that is in the hands of the agent and proper negotiating over the years,” Lauren wrote in her blog.
“At one time my husband had a female co-host on E! News who made three times his salary and another female co-host was paid more than him as well, and they had the same role, one where Jason had more responsibility,” she wrote, and later added, “Women are paid accordingly on this network, and the difference in his salary versus theirs did not affect Jason whatsoever because he knows there are always more components to consider when determining one’s salary.”
From Sadler’s perspective, she thinks “it’s unfortunate that people who don’t work there are trying to be the voice for the network,” she told THR about Lauren’s claims. “The only story I can tell is my truth and the truth speaks for itself.”
Although Sadler’s “next moves are not definitive at this moment,” she “most definitely” wants to stay in the broadcast journalism sphere.
“I want to continue to create really meaningful content. I love the climate in which we are operating right now. I think it’s exciting, I think it’s thrilling,” Sadler previously told PEOPLE. “I’d like to cover more about this ongoing story of women making change and I want to be a champion for women really. So if I can do that and incorporate that in my future broadcasting endeavors, that would be extremely fulfilling to me.”
“When you’re on TV five days a week and have the gift of entertaining and reporting to the world, it’s like that light goes on and that is my element. That has been my purpose in life. I think I was born to do this. It’s what I do, it’s all I know, so I will definitely miss just the exercise of everyday getting to do this job,” she said. “But I will land on my feet and I will get to the other side of this, for sure.”
This article originally appeared on People.com