WHY I LEFT E ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION
I know first hand that dreams do come true. For the past twelve years, I've been living mine out loud as one of the hosts on E television. For more than a decade I've walked through the doors at E and traveled into people's living rooms around the world. I've reported from a royal wedding, the Olympics, and the Oscars. I've been to film festivals in France, movie premieres in Rio, and fashion week in Paris. I've gotten chased by the paparazzi on camera while shopping with Kris Jenner, co-hosted shows with Khloe, Kim and Kourtney, and interviewed Kendall and Kylie back in those early Keeping Up days when no one could remember their names. It has been unpredictable, intoxicating, rewarding and hard work. Five days a week since February 2006. First, for The Daily 10 and later for E News.
Then, this year happened. Daily Pop was born. I was named host which meant double duty. Hosting a live, two-hour daytime show while also hosting E News most nights. It was creatively challenging but genuinely one of the most fulfilling years of my professional career. Coincidentally, around this same time an executive from E brought something alarming to my attention -- namely, that there was a massive disparity in pay between my similarly situated male co-host and myself. More recently, when E reached out to renew and extend my deal, I learned that he wasn't just making a little more than I was. In fact, he was making close to double my salary for the past several years.
Information is power. Or it should be. We are living in a new era. The gender pay gap is shrinking, although admittedly we have a long way to go. And well, I learned this first hand. My team and I asked for what I know I deserve and were denied repeatedly.
Know your worth. I have two decades experience in broadcasting and started at the network the very same year as my close friend and colleague that I adore. I so lovingly refer to him as my "tv husband" and I mean it. But how can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they’re not willing to pay me the same as him? Or at least come close? How can I accept an offer that shows they do not value my contributions and paralleled dedication all these years? How can I not echo the actions of my heroes and stand for what is right no matter what the cost? How can I remain silent when my rights under the law have been violated?
It's scary. I am a single mother of two boys. The unknown can be terrifying, but it can also be the most beautiful gift. Countless brave women have come forward this year to speak their truth. Females refuse to remain silent on issues that matter most because without our voices, how will we invoke lasting change? How can we make it better for the next generation of girls if we do not stand for what is fair and just today?
It was my desire to stay at my job. To continue entertaining our loyal viewers around the world. To keep working alongside some of the best writers, directors, and producers in the game. Everyone from the studio crew, hair and makeup artists, to the security at the front door are true friends of mine. They have been my work family and I love them dearly. Unfortunately, however, my decision was made for me and I must go.
I will find more work. I will create content with meaning. I will continue to pursue my passions while making my children proud. The way I see it, I have an obligation to be an agent for change.
It was important for me to explain my departure. I did not want to disappear from your television screens and have you wonder why. Thank you for your precious time all these years. Thank you for the support. Thank you for the constant exchange of ideas on social media as well. This chapter is over and a new one begins.
Big big love,
I couldn’t let another minute go by without acknowledging the overwhelming love and support I’ve been receiving the last 24 hours. Leaving E was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but your messages and heartfelt comments are comforting and affirm for me that I made the right decision. So many of you have similar stories, similar struggles, legitimate frustrations and I want you to know I hear you and feel for you. As a result, I have a renewed sense of purpose and genuine passion to right the wrongs. We are stronger together and I feel your strength at my core. If I had one ask, it is to please not place blame on my friend Jason Kennedy. He has done right by me in every respect. It hurts me deeply to see that some are vilifying him. I repeat, his hands are tied on this matter and if you’re angry - rightfully so - direct that emotion at the decision makers who failed us, not him. All my love + gratitude 🖤
The year that didn’t kill me.
I got divorced.
My grandfather died.
A close family member went to rehab.
My eldest son was diagnosed with ADD. That meant doctors and more doctors compounded with his heart issues. This drug, that drug. I cried more tears than anyone would ever know.
Professionally, I got another show - amazing - but that meant starting my work day three hours earlier each morning; exhaustion was a familiar feeling. Negotiations began. Negotiations stagnated. Negotiations collapsed. I would decide to leave my job after twelve years.
It’s weird, but here I am 30,000 feet above sea level writing and I’m happy. Genuinely at peace. It’s the last day of the year and a time for reflection. As I think about the adversities of the last several months, I am comforted by my longtime friend, Resilience.
I got to know her as a young girl. I experienced my fair share of dysfunction - addiction ran in the family, divorce visited many times, I wasn’t close to my real father until later in life. I learned early on about tapping into my strength. Holding it together when things were falling apart. Standing tall when things crumbled around me. It was about survival and I was damn good at it. I smiled through it, excelled in spite of it, and through nothing more than maybe the grace of God, always could see the gifts in the suffering. I had a bounce-back ability like none other and it has served me my entire life. My mom always says I “float and deal” and well, that’s pretty spot on.
I am alive and there’s not a day that goes by I don’t notice the beauty in the mundane. My hero, Oprah, taught me about the importance of gratitude and I practice it regularly. Yoga has also changed my life. For me, it’s very spiritual. It is my church.
My children are my two proudest achievements and my love for them is larger than the entire galaxy. Nothing, nothing means more. And speaking of love, I found that, too. I have a new best friend who makes me laugh every single day. He lights up my life. He is also sober and his commitment to healthy living astonishes me. He teaches me. I am growing.
When I look at my life, I smile. It’s more than I ever would have dreamed in a million years. There’s no such thing as perfect and all of our experiences are relative; I acknowledge that, but this is my story.
As I look ahead I feel renewed purpose, a duty like never before, and I’m excited to get to work. In the last few weeks everyone from the gal at the ATT store to people passing in the street to the hundreds of letters I’ve received from around the world - people want a voice. Women are frustrated. Women and girls need somebody to shout for them, to kick and scream, to make it better. We need each other. We need to band together. We need to lock in as sisters and make our voices heard. This will be my cause, I promise.
So yeah, this year didn’t kill me. It made me stronger.
Everything is going to be okay… because it always is.