Netflix Star Reveals How Streamer Pays Actors Pitiful Wage

By Chad Langen | Updated

Tommy Dorfman in 13 Reasons Why

Tommy Dorfman, known for her role in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, recently divulged her meager earnings from the show on social media, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The star’s shocking revelation comes amidst the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, where Hollywood writers and actors are advocating for better compensation, increased streaming residuals, and better working conditions. Given its industry dominance, Netflix is a major target of these strikes.

“My earnings for the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why were $29.953.24.”

Tommy Dorfman, featured in eight episodes of 13 Reasons Why

“My earnings for the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why were $29.953.24,” Dorfman shared to her Threads. The actor, who played Ryan Shaver in the first two seasons of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, elaborated that this figure was prior to deductions for agency and manager fees and taxes. Dorfman further clarified that this scanty sum was for her involvement in eight episodes spanning over six months.

Dorfman was obligated by Netflix to do promotional work for the series and had to travel across the country for each episode’s filming. She also revealed that she had to work for days without receiving additional payment. Adding insult to injury, she barely met the criteria for insurance coverage.

In 2020, before the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Kimiko Glenn criticized Netflix for the paltry streaming residuals she received from her role as Brook Soso in Orange is the New Black. In a TikTok clip, which has gone viral amidst the ongoing strikes, Glenn shared her royalty statement with her followers. The statement listed all 45 episodes she appeared in, with a sum of just $27.30 displayed at the bottom.

Kimiko Gleen from Orange is the New Black revealed her royalty statement from Netflix was $27.30 for 45 episodes.

Tommy Dorfman in 13 Reasons Why

In May, as a joint SAG-AFTRA and WGA strike was imminent, Glenn reposted the clip to Instagram, garnering backing from her ex-castmates. Matt McGorry, who portrayed a corrections officer in Orange is the New Black, confessed in a reply to Glenn’s post that he retained his higher-earning day job while on the Netflix series.

Beth Dover, known for her role as Linda Ferguson, added that she incurred personal expenses in the show’s third and fourth seasons, having to cover her own travel costs.

Emma Myles, known for her six-season role as Leanne Taylor in Orange is the New Black, shared that the cast still talks about their underwhelming salaries and meager residuals. Whenever they meet, the first topic of discussion is the paltry residuals from the Netflix series. She emphasized that while people presume they’ve amassed wealth from the successful show, the reality is far from it.

SAG-AFTRA members need to earn over $28,000 to qualify for insurance, an amount Tommy Dorfman barely cleared for eight months of work.

During a Q2 2023 earnings call, Netflix co-CEOS Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters, voiced their aim to swiftly settle matters with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. However, they indicated the strikes would not impact content availability due to an ample pipeline.

They also announced a boosted 2023 free cash flow forecast, rising from at least $3.5 billion to $5 billion, attributed to a halt in production and a substantial cutback in spending amidst the strikes.

The ongoing strike by Hollywood actors and screenwriters is now in its second week, with no immediate resolution in sight. A number of Hollywood studios are allegedly ready to see the writers and actors financially suffer, with no plans to negotiate with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA for several months. Matt Belloni speculates in his recent Puck newsletter that the strikes may potentially continue until early 2024.