Women in Hollywood are fed up and won’t be silenced anymore. A recent example is two Latinas at the forefront of the “Scream” franchise debacle.

After several outlets confirmed the exit of Latina stars Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega, new information concerning their departure has emerged.

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“The Hollywood Reporter” revealed that unlike Barrera, who had initially agreed to return as Sam Carpenter in the next film installment, Ortega never had a deal in place for “Scream 7.” In fact, she had already quit the franchise months before Barrera’s dismissal.

But it’s not about conflicting schedules

In contrast to initial information shared by “Deadline” — which cited a schedule conflict as the reason behind Ortega’s absence in the film — “The Hollywood Reporter” cited Spyglass Media Group’s refusal to meet her request for a payday increase. 

Ortega, who started as a child actor, has seen her career soar since starring in “Wednesday.” The actress’s portrayal of the beloved character has earned her acclaim, award nominations, and unprecedented popularity. She is now the face of fashion brands, sportswear companies, and jewelry collections. 

The actress’s reps reportedly asked for a payday that reflected her current popularity. In the franchise’s previous films, Spyglass paid Ortega six figures. However, now she was “seeking [a] high seven-figure” and anticipated Spyglass would “balk.”

Jenna Ortega is just one in a string of women seeking fair compensation in Hollywood

Women in the U.S. earn approximately 80% of what men earn. However, in the film industry, the pay gap is even wider.

In 2017, a comparison of the highest-paid male and female actors revealed a median salary of $57.4 million for men and $21.8 million for women. That means that top actresses earn 38% less than top actors.

One need only recall our beloved “X-Files” series and how Gillian Anderson reported receiving an offer for half the money David Duchovny made.

And if you still have doubts, just listen to Michelle Williams’ Emmy Award speech:

As is often the case in social justice struggles, Latinas have been at the forefront of the issue

On average, Latinas are paid only 52 cents for every dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men. This gap extends across all industries. However, during the recent SAG-AFTRA protests, actresses Lisa Vidal and Diana Maria Riva, co-founders of Latinas Acting Up, staged a walkout outside Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California, in solidarity with the WGA.

“This moment in history is so important because labor rights are being eroded in this country,” said Monica Ramirez, president and founder of the organization Justice for Migrant Women, who was in attendance at the rally. “We just went through the pandemic where more than a million Latina workers were pushed out of the workforce. This moment in history is literally about our survival. Latinas, we don’t work half as hard, we are not worth half as much, and we are not half as talented. We’re here to raise awareness about the Latina pay gap and that we should be paid the full dollar.”

Ortega’s decision not to return to the “Scream” franchise has shed a harsh light on this disparity. Furthermore, it draws a line in the sand on behalf of Latina actresses seeking fair compensation. 

Btw, this isn’t the first time “Scream” has lost cast members 

Last year, Neve Campbell, who starred in the first five “Scream” films, also exited the franchise. “I did not feel that what I was being offered equated to the value I bring and have brought to this franchise for 25 years,” she told “The Hollywood Reporter.”

“And as a woman in this business, I think it’s really important for us to be valued and to fight to be valued,” Campbell added. “I honestly don’t believe that if I were a man and had done five installments of a huge blockbuster franchise over 25 years, that the number that I was offered would be the number that would be offered to a man.”

Calladitas no more 

On November 21, the story broke that Spyglass had fired Mexican star Melissa Barrera. The company considered that Barrera’s Instagram stories, referring to the situation in Gaza as “genocide and ethnic cleansing,” were antisemitic. 

According to “The Hollywood Reporter,” Barrera’s firing happened a month before the news of her departure broke. The Mexican actress was let go “in the early weeks of the Israel-Hamas war when Barrera had become increasingly vocal.” The actress already had a deal to return to “Scream 7.”

Following her public dismissal, Barrera chose to speak up. The actress again took to Instagram to condemn antisemitism and islamophobia. She also pointed out the importance of using her platform to raise awareness.

“As a Latina, a proud Mexicana, I feel the responsibility of having a platform that allows me the privilege of being heard, and therefore, I have tried to use it to raise awareness about issues I care about and to lend my voice to those in need,” she wrote.

Credit: Instagram.

“Scream” faces an uncertain future 

Even after previous cast departures, the absence of Barrera and Ortega places the future of the “Scream” franchise now more uncertain than ever. With both Latinas in leading roles, “Scream 6” broke records set by previous franchise installments. The film received positive reviews and took the number-one spot at the box office. 

On the opening weekend, “Scream 6” grossed over $44 million domestically and $67 million internationally, although many had predicted Campbell’s absence would hinder the film’s success.  

Barrera and Ortega’s departure now poses a new challenge for the franchise. As rumored, the film is still focusing on the Carpenter sisters, portrayed by the Latina actresses. With both out of the picture, “Scream 7” is inevitably up for a significant shakeup.