Date: 22nd January 2004

Julia Roberts accused of discriminating against women

Four female jazz musicians are suing Julia Roberts, claiming they were paid less for appearing in her movie Mona Lisa Smile (2003) than their male counterparts.

The quartet have filed a lawsuit claiming they were paid half of what they were promised.

Roberts and her production company, meanwhile, have counter-sued. They accused the four New Yorkers - Jeanne Daly, Jill McCarron, Ada Rovatti and Lauren Sevian - of trying to embarrass them into a big settlement.

But Ms Daly said: "Julia Roberts plays a professor who gets women to stand up for themselves and break out of their stereotypical roles. And here we are being discriminated against. It's pretty pathetic."

She told the New York Post that the female musicians had been initially offered 440 for each eight-hour shift. But when they arrived at the set the offer was changed to 220 for 12 hour shifts, she said.

Meanwhile, the women say they discovered that male jazz players in the picture were each getting 350 a day.

As well as launching the lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court, the women filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Screen Actors Guild.

In the movie Roberts plays an art history professor at the women-only Wellesley College, who persuades her students to seek more from life than the perfect husband.

Her production company Red Om Films and Smile Productions have counter-sued the women.

Their suit accuses the quartet of trying to "harass, embarrass and annoy defendants in order to extract a sizeable settlement".

Source: Press Release