If you watched MADtv, you watched Debra Wilson. Starting with the pilot of the show, Wilson’s tenure lasted longer than any other member of the original lineup. That didn’t seem to matter much, however, where salaries were concerned. During an interview with The Comedy Hype News Show, a clip of which was posted Wednesday, Wilson revealed that her decision to leave the show was motivated not by a desire to move on but by a realization that she was not valued. “And when I realized that there was white male cast members who were coming in after me making more than me,” she said. “I went, ‘Okay, can we talk about this?’ and the answer essentially was ‘No.’” She went on to clarify that the revelation came after learning one specific person’s salary, and that she wasn’t aware of what other members of the cast were making.
Wilson declined to reveal the amount of the discrepancy, since for her, that was beside the point. “It’s not about just dollars and cents, it’s devaluing — or, what I felt was being devaluing of what I bring to the table and could continue to bring to the table,” she said. She also explained that her requests to even negotiate her salary were denied. “There wasn’t even a negotiation to raise it,” she said, “let alone to match someone else.” Wilson had spent eight seasons on the show as the only Black female cast member up until that point. “Had they just said ‘You know what, Debra? We’re gonna raise your salary. It won’t match his, but we’re gonna raise it,’” she added, “I would’ve stayed.” And we would’ve watched.