Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan has voiced her support for co-writer Adele Lim, who dropped out of the film’s sequel over pay disparity.

Last week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Warner Bros made Lim, who is Chinese-Malaysian, a starting offer of $110,000-plus for the sequel – significantly less than the offer of $800,000 to $1 million for Lim’s white male co-writer Peter Chiarelli.

Lim said that Chiarelli volunteered to split his fee with her but she decided to pass, and stated that women and people of colour are regularly used as “soy sauce” by Hollywood, to add cultural touches to projects without getting the credit they deserve.

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Chan, who played Astrid in the first movie, tweeted that she stands with Lim, “as I do every person fighting for pay equity”.

She added: “Pay disparity disproportionately affects women and POC and there is still a long way to go – both in the conversation and how to rectify it. We can and must do better, faster.”

Her statement comes after director Jon M Chu also backed Lim.

“You bet your ass I stand with Adele!” he posted on Twitter. “I believed in her before we ever shot the movie and believe in her beyond.”

Chu said that when he learned about the initial offer, he worked with the producers and studio executives to make sure both writers were offered “parity… at a significant number”, but it happened too late.

“Unfortunately, by the time we came up with several different ways to satisfy everyone’s needs, a lot of time had passed and she declined the offer,” he said. “These things happen in negotiations, and I’m proud that she was able to stand up for her own measure of worth and walk away when she felt like she was being undervalued.

Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians
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“She was my sister and co-conspirator all the way through the film. I am, of course, frustrated that we all can’t do the next one together but I think the conversation this has started is MUCH more important than ourselves (and the movie sequels, frankly), so who am I to get in the way of that.

“I agree with Adele that parity for women and people of colour is crucial to the continued enlightenment of our industry, and we still have a long way to go.”

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