Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer spoke candidly about the wage gap in Hollywood. Spencer was speaking at the WOmen Breaking Barriers panel at the Sundance Film Festival when she told the story about how Jessica Chastain helped her earn five times more than her original salary.
The two became really close while working on The Help and they are now working on a film Chastain is producing. The friends had a candid conversation about the wage gap and the wage gap between white woman and woman of color. “I told her my story and we talked numbers and she was quiet. She had no idea that is what it was like for women of color,” Spencer said.
She had been underpaid for so long. When I discovered that , I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) January 24, 2018
Chastain promised Spencer she was going to get paid on their joint film. Chastain tied Spencer to her salary so whatever she makes, Spencer makes the same. Now Spencer is making five times what she originally was going to.
“I love that woman because she’s walking the walking and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said about Chastain.
The wage gap is no joke. According to AAUW, in 2016 America women earned 79 cents to every dollar a man made. But the wage gap worsens for women of color. Hispanic and Latina’s make 54 cents to every dollar a white man makes and African American women make 63 cents for every dollar.
Actresses have been speaking candidly about their pay and how significantly less it is than their male and white counterparts. Recently Mark Wahlberg was paid 1,000 times more than his co-star Michelle Williams for the All the Money in the World reshoots. USA Today reports that Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for the reshoots and Williams was paid $80 a day totaling less than $1,000.
The wage gap is an intersectional sexist issue that needs to address because ladies, of all races, need to have their payday. “Here’s the thing. Women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women,” Spencer said. “So if we’re going to have that conversation, we’ve got to bring the women of color to the table.”