13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman exposes shocking income for hit Netflix show: ‘This is why we strike’

Tommy Dorfman shares poor 13 Reasons Why earnings during ongoing actors' strike.

Trans actor Tommy Dorfman, best known for her role as Ryan Shaver in Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, has revealed her income struggles during the first season of the show.

Earlier this month, Hollywood actors joined writers on the picket line for the first time in 60 years, in a joint Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America strike.

The union walk-out, involving 11,500 writers and 160,000 actors, hopes to address unfair pay within the streaming industry and regulations around the use of AI.

As filming for major productions such as Wicked and Stranger Things grinds to a halt, well-known actors from across the industry, including Dorfman, have been talking about their pay.

In a candid Threads post on Tuesday (25 July), the star revealed the streaming revenue she received for the first season of the popular series – a sum so low she “barely qualified for insurance”.

Tommy Dorfman supporting the SAG-AFTRA strikes.
Tommy Dorfman supporting the SAG-AFTRA strikes. (Getty)

“My earnings for the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why were $29,953.24 (approximately £23,300) prior to agency and manager fees (20 per cent) and taxes,” Dorfman said. “Eight episodes over six months.

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“I did all of the promo, flew round trip from New York to San Francisco to shoot for every episode, was kept for days without pay/working. I barely qualified for insurance. Within the first 28 days of release, season one garnered a total of 476 million view hours. This is why we strike.”

Dorfman, who appeared in the first two seasons of 13 Reasons Why, was one of several actors pictured on the picket line outside Netflix and Warner Bros on 21 July. Her experience is particularly shocking given the personal sacrifice she made to take the role.

Dorfman, who publically came out as a trans woman in 2021, has previously admitted she would have “transitioned a lot sooner” had she not have joined the cast of 13 Reasons Why.

“I got stuck in time for a minute,” she said on a podcast in August last year. “I had to put a lot of stuff that I thought I was gonna work on or gonna do, personal development things, I had to compartmentalise and put them away.

“So, when it came to anything around dysphoria or gender and stuff that had already been present, I was like: ‘Nope that’s not for now’.”

Dorfman is not the only star to criticise Netflix – whose net income for the 12 months up to last month has been put at just under $4.25 billion (£3.3 billion). At the beginning of the strike, several Orange is the New Black cast members spoke out about the “crazy and unjust” pay they received while filming the show and in residuals thereafter.

Other A-List stars such as Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Sean Gunn, This Is Us star Mandy Moore and Poker Face‘s lead Natasha Lyonne have also explained why the strikes are so important.

Elsewhere, Drag Race‘s Jinkx Monsoon has called on fellow queer actors and drag artists to support the walk-out or be “considered a scab” (a word used to describe workers who break strikes).

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