"The backlash was devastating to say the least," Gina Rodriguez said

By Ale Russian
January 23, 2019 03:52 PM
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Gina Rodriguez is clarifying controversial remarks she made that sparked debate among some social media users.

The Miss Bala actress, 34, grew emotional while appearing on Sway in the Morning‘s SiriusXM radio show after she was asked about backlash she received following a grouped interview in late 2018.

Last year, Rodriguez was part of a panel with Ellen Pompeo, Gabrielle Union and Emma Roberts for Net-a-Porter when the issue of racial pay equality came up.

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than black women, black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into,” she said in the interview at the time.

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Her comments sparked backlash from some members black community who felt she was ignoring how Latina actresses have been getting higher payments in the industry. As of 2018, the highest paid TV actress in the world is Sofia Vergara, a Latina actress from Colombia.

Rodriguez faced similar backlash in 2017 after she tweeted the following once Black Panther was announced: “Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend…”

Many online took issue with her overlooking what Black Panther represented to the African-American community, while also pointing out the Marvel Cinematic Universe does include Afro-Latina actresses like Tessa Thompson and Zoe Saldana.

Rodriguez has since retreated from social media, and addressed the backlash for the first time on the radio show.

“I never said actresses, I wasn’t speaking about my industry,” she clarified Tuesday. “I always find it difficult to talk about equal pay as a woman who makes a substantial amount of money. As somebody who came from poverty to now the amount of money I get paid, it doesn’t feel right that I’m the one talking about it, because I’m so damn grateful. What I was saying, was that when we talk about equal pay, we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise.”

Rodriguez then grew emotional as she talked about how it affected her.

“The backlash was devastating to say the least because…,” Rodriguez said before she started to cry.

“Because the black community was the only community I looked towards growing up,” she added after taking a few moments. “We didn’t have many Latino shows and the black community made me feel like I was seen. So to get ‘I’m anti-black’ is saying that I’m anti-family. My father is dark skinned, he’s Afro-Latino… It’s in my blood. So that was really devastating to me.”

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She continued, “It was a really dark time for me. It made me get away from social media because my mental health is much more important to me. Especially when I know my intention. The last thing I want to do is put two under-represented groups against each other. Our unification is what is our rise. Our unification is what’s going to allow both of our communities to continue to flourish.”

Rodriguez went on to point out how her production company, I Can I Will, fights for all minorities and that she hopes people will one day see what she really meant.

“I felt their pain and I will always apologize from the bottom of my heart if I cause pain on anyone cause that is not who I am. But that felt really far left-field for me, real out of context, and I just didn’t know how to control that,” she said.

Miss Bala is in theaters Feb. 1.