Gina Rodriguez caught heat two months ago when she spoke about the intersectional aspect of the gender pay gap in America. The Golden Globe winner made the comments during a round table with Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and Emma Roberts, stating Latina women were paid less than black women.
"White women get paid more than black women, black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women," Rodriguez said. "It's like a very scary space to step into."
Her statement sparked immediate backlash, with many accusing the Jane the Virgin star of pitting POC women against one another. And although her statements were about women's pay in general, critics assumed she was strictly talking about Hollywood pay and were quick to point out that Latina actress Sofia Vergara was the highest-paid actress in television.
Many people called her statements anti-black.
This week, the 34-year-old addressed the controversy during an appearance on Sway in the Morning. She broke down into tears as she attempted to clarify her comments.
"The backlash was devastating, to say the least," said Rodriguez (12:10), who is promoting her upcoming Miss Bala film. "The black community was the only community I looked towards 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 to say I'm anti-family."
She went on to say the criticism was especially "devastating" because her father is a "dark-skinned" Afro-Latino. Rodriguez insisted she never intended to insult anyone, and suggested "clickbait" culture was a large factor in the backlash.
"I know my heart. I know what I meant, and I really wish we weren’t living in a culture where we're clickbait, because I've never said anything controversial about anybody," she explained. "If anything, the Black community is my community. As Latinos, we have black Latinos; that is what we are. I am not, so I think when I speak about Latino advocacy, people believe I mean only my skin color."
Rodriguez reiterated that her comments about pay disparity weren't about Hollywood, and said it was a fact that Latinas generally get paid less than black women. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, white women make 77 cents for every dollar white men make; Asian women make 85 cents, black women make 61 cents, and Latinas make 53 cents.
"What do you say? 'Sorry' for cheating when you didn’t cheat?" she said about the anti-black accusations. "[...] That is so far from who I am. [...] If I have hurt you, I am sorry, and I will always be sorry, but you have to know, until you know my heart, there is no way we can live off clickbait."
Some weren't convinced Rodriguez's comments—or tears—were sincere:
You can watch Rodriguez's interview above.