Martina Navratilova is ticked.
The nine-time Wimbledon singles champion and tennis commentator says the BBC pays her 10 times less than fellow commentator John McEnroe for doing Wimbledon broadcasts. And she’s angry because she fears what’s happening to her happens to women everywhere.
“It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000 (about $210,000). I get about £15,000 (about $21,000),” Navratilova said on one of the BBC’s own shows, Panorama.
Navratilova says while her Wimbledon gig is a part-time job for her, it isn’t fair that she gets paid so much less than her male counterpart. And if it’s happening to her, she said, other women must be dealing with the pay disparity, too.
“If this happens to me then, – you know for me it’s a part-time job, it’s two weeks of my life – but for the women that work there full-time, maybe the discrepancy’s not that large, but it adds up over a lifetime,” she said. “It adds up to an amazing amount of money.”
‘Gender isn’t a factor’
The BBC said it’s not really a fair comparison because McEnroe is on air three times more than Navratilova and the two are on different types of contracts.
“John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” the BBC said in a statement. “He is contracted to be on call for the BBC across the entire tournament. … Gender isn’t a factor.”
Navratilova agrees that McEnroe is on air more than she is. But …
“Ten times as much? I don’t think so,” she said.
She also said she had been assured by the BBC that men and women were being paid equally for the same work, so she feels “we were not told the truth.” And she also feels the UK’s public broadcaster needed to “do better” when it came to gender equity in pay.
Last summer the BBC revealed the salaries of its entertainment stars and top journalists, showing that it paid its female stars a lot less.
When asked for comment, a representative for McEnroe referred CNN to the BBC.
McEnroe, perhaps the highest-profile commentator in tennis, won three Wimbledon singles titles.
The gap in pay between men and women has made headlines in recent months. In January it was reported that actress Michelle Williams earned less than 1% of co-star Mark Wahlberg’s $1.5 million fee for doing reshoots on the movie, “All the Money in the World.” After fierce criticism, Wahlberg said he would donate the money to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Williams’ name.