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Screenwriter Adele Lim quits ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ over pay inequity

Adele Lim, a Malaysian-born screenwriter who co-wrote Crazy Rich Asians, has reportedly left the sequels to the last year’s smash hit romantic comedy due to pay disparity dispute.

According to reports, Lim was offered significantly lower pay than to her co-writer Peter Chiarelli, deeming that he had more experience than she did in writing feature films. Lim writes mostly for television and it was Crazy Rich Asian, her first feature film.

 “Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” Lim said.

According to Warner Bros, her pay was based on ‘industry-standard established ranges based on experience”. Chiarelli had offered to split his fee with Lim, but she declined.

 “Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer,” she said.

“If I couldn’t get pay equity after Crazy Rich Asians, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of colour would never have been (hired for). There’s no realistic way to achieve true equity that way.”

Among the projects that Lim is currently working on is Disney’s upcoming South-East Asian based animated feature, Raya And the Last Dragon, due out next year. Crazy Rich Asians which is directed by Jon M. Chu made US$238.5mil (RM1bil) at the global box office, making stars out of its cast members, which included Malaysian actor Henry Golding, Fresh Off The Boat actress Constance Wu, and rapper Awkwafina.

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