Terrence Howard has taken a major step against the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), alleging racism and discriminatory practices.
Deadline reports that Howard’s attorneys are claiming racial bias as the reason for the unfair reduction of his salary for his role in ‘Empire.’
The ‘Hustle & Flow’ actor alleges that the talent agency did not compensate him fairly compared to the white actors they also represented on the former FOX musical drama, even though he was the lead star.
The alleged act of urging Howard to sign a contract lower than what he was entitled to is now deemed as a conflict of interest, an act of racism, and a clear violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
The father of four further alleges that CAA failed to advocate for him or take appropriate action against the discriminatory practices and consequently stifled him out of a fair salary.
Howard claims that he didn’t know about the pay difference compared to other CAA clients until he started researching and discovered that his success on the show entitled him to a much higher salary.
Terrence Howard Reveals His ‘Empire’ Salary
The actor earned $350,000 per episode in the final season. But in a news conference held on Friday, his attorneys at Cochran Firm believed that he should have been earning up to 50 percent more, particularly because he was one of the lead stars.
Howard argued that ‘Empire’ was one of the most-watched shows at the peak of its success, amassing just as much popularity as NBC’s ‘The Big Bang Theory.’
‘Empire’ surpassed the latter in viewership several times, with its lead star Jim Parsons taking “significantly more” in pay than Howard for reasons the actor remains perplexed by.
“They’re big companies to go to war against. But sooner or later, you’ve got to stand up, because they’re just trampling over the rights of the artists,” he concluded, per Complex.
“We expect our agents and our lawyers to look after us, and therefore, we’re free to do all of the work that you guys enjoy so much,” Howard reportedly explained, per the Los Angeles Times. “I trusted CAA to look after me, and they looked after themselves.”
He continued by saying that he couldn’t imagine this happening to a white actor with the same accolades and world recognition as him. His attorney, Carlos Moore, on the other hand, didn’t hesitate to be a little more direct during the conference, adding, “Discovery will show that this was racism.”