Gina Rodriguez sparked controversy on social media in Nov. 2018, after she made questionable claims about the racial pay gap in the workplace. During a panel discussion on Neta Porter’s “The Television Debate” with Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and more, the actress falsely claimed that black women were paid more than Latina and Asian women. Nearly two months after the backlash, Rodriguez sat down with Sway in the Morning on Jan. 22, to explain her previous statements and debunk the notion that she is anti-black.
“I wasn’t speaking about my industry,” she said of her previous comments about the racial pay gap. “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 just so damn grateful…”
The Jane the Virgin actress stated that she was devastated by the tweets from the black community that claimed she was anti-black because she felt deeply connected to the racial group growing up. “What I was saying is that when we talk about equal pay we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise. And so, the backlash was devastating to say the least because the black community was the only community I looked towards,” she continued. “Growing up, we didn’t have many Latino shows and the black community made me feel like I was seen. So to get ‘anti-black’ is saying that I’m anti-family. My father is dark-skinned. He’s Afro-latino. And my cousins are. And Puerto Ricans are African, Taino, and Spaniard blood…”
She also suggested that the backlash was fueled by click-bait. “I know my heart. I know what I meant. And I really wish we lived in a culture that wasn’t click-bait because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody and far would I ever,” she added. “The black community is my community. As Latinos, we have black Latinos. That is what we are. I think when I talk about Latino advocacy they think I mean people only my skin color. And little do they know that I’m very aware of what my culture is… It was a really really dark time for me.”
Check out Rodriguez’s full comments on the subject at the 12:34-mark in the video above.