Catt Sadler, 43, left E! this week after finding out that her cohost on E! News was making “double” her salary. “Information is power. Or it should be. We are living in a new era. The gender pay gap is shrinking, although admittedly we have a long way to go. And well, I learned this first hand. My team and I asked for what I know I deserve and were denied repeatedly,” she wrote on her website on Tuesday, December 19.
While Sadler referred to she and Jason Kennedy as “similarly situated” in their positions, Us Weekly has exclusively learned that he was making significantly more than her because he was put into the first anchor spot, while Sadler was at No 2.
“This is the nature of the industry and how it goes in any company,” a source close to the network tells Us, adding that when Giuliana Rancic was in the lead anchor position, she was making more than Kennedy, who was second at the time.
“Catt’s salary was at about $600,000 per year. Jason is around $1 million a year, maybe $1.2 million at most. He was making more, but this has nothing to do with a male vs. female thing,” the source adds. “It has nothing to do with gender, but rather seniority and Jason’s ranking at the company.”
Us Weekly broke the news that Sadler had decided to leave the network after 12 years once she found out about the pay difference and was denied more money. When she learned Kennedy was making significantly more, even though she felt that she did more work, she was “outraged,” our source confirmed. “The network was not interested in negotiating with her to get her up to his salary.”
Following Sadler’s announcement on Tuesday, E! told Us in a statement: “E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender. We appreciate Catt Sadler’s many contributions at E! News and wish her all the best following her decision to leave the network.”
Sadler asked fans not to blame Kennedy for the pay difference, writing on Instagram that “his hands are tied” in the situation. “He has done right by me in every respect. It hurts me deeply to see that some are vilifying him,” she wrote. “If you’re angry – rightfully so – direct that emotion at the decision makers who failed us, not him.”
Kennedy’s wife, Lauren Scruggs, also posted on Instagram to defend her husband. “I believe in female empowerment and gender equality, but it’s heartbreaking that a network is being deemed sexist when that is simply not true,” she wrote in a post on Thursday, December 21.
“At one time my husband had a female co-anchor on E! News who made 3 times his salary,” she wrote, alluding to the pay difference with Rancic. “Women are paid accordingly on this network, and the difference in his salary versus hers did not affect Jason. He knows there are always more components to consider when determining one’s salary than gender alone.”
The network has not yet responded to Us Weekly’s latest request for comment.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!
Kathie Lee Gifford Supports Jason Kennedy Amid Catt Sadler’s E! Exit
Jason Kennedy’s Wife Lauren Scruggs Defends Him After Catt Sadler’s E! Exit
Catt Sadler Leaves ‘E! News’: Olivia Munn, Jennifer Lawrence, More React