Tommy Dorfman did not hold back about the low wage she received for season 1 of 13 Reasons Why — even as the series turned into a cultural phenomenon.
“My earnings for the entire first season of 13 reasons why were $29,953.24 prior to agency and manager fees (20%) and taxes. 8 episodes over six months,” Dorfman, 31, wrote via Threads on Monday, July 25.
She continued: “I did all of the promo and had KEY ART for this show, flew round trip from NYC to SF to shoot for every episode, was kept for days without pay/working. I barely qualified for insurance. within the first 28 days of release, the show’s season 1 garnered a total of 476 million view hours. this is why we strike. @sagaftra.”
Dorfman rose to fame playing high school student Ryan Shaver in three seasons of the hit Netflix show, which was based on a harrowing novel about teenage suicide written by Jay Asher.
13 Reasons Why, which ran from 2017 to 2020, revolved around high school kids dealing with the aftermath of a fellow student’s death by suicide. The series, which featured Selena Gomez as an executive producer, also starred Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler and Kate Walsh.
After 13 Reasons Why aired its series finale, Dorfman came out as a transgender woman and began using she/her pronouns. She previously identified as non-binary and used they/them pronouns while on the show.
Dorfman’s candid glimpse into how much she has earned over the years comes amid the historic WGA and SAG-AFTRA joint strike.
In May, the Writers Guild of America announced a strike following a labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — the organization that represents major networks such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony.
Two months later, SAG-AFTRA joined writers on the picket lines after their own contract negotiations with AMPTP stalled over concerns regarding fair wages and the use of artificial intelligence.
Actors such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s Luke Cook have since also spoken out about the low wages they received, even with roles on hit TV shows.
“95 percent of people in SAG cannot make a living from acting, they have to have side hustles. I am one of those actors,” Cook, 36, detailed in a TikTok earlier this month. “I get paid per episode which is two weeks of work [and it came out to] $7,500. Then it is taxed and a manager takes 10 percent, an agent takes 10 percent and a lawyer takes 5 percent. I am one line below a series regular who is maybe making $100,000, sometimes per episode.”
Cook praised his union for standing behind working actors while explaining that the strikers aren’t millionaires and billionaires who are demanding even more money.
“[A] huge portion of this strike is about people like me who need to be paid more for the work that they do and let them have a portion of the profits that these big streamers are bringing it,” he added. “So, this discussion isn’t about millionaires.”