Michelle Williams has said her speaking out against the gender pay gap in the film industry is the proudest moment of her life.
In 2019, Williams said she was “paralyzed” by “futility” after finding out she was being paid drastically less than her co-star Mark Walberg for the reshoot of All the money in the world.
Williams was reportedly paid under $1000, while Wahlberg was paid $1.5m (£1.23m)
“Nobody cared,” Williams said at a hearing in Washington DC at the time. “This came as no surprise to me, it simply reinforced my lifelong belief that equality is not an inalienable right and that women would always work just as hard for less money, while having more responsibility at home.
“I’ve been a working actress since the age of 12. I’ve been accredited by my industry at the highest level and that still hasn’t translated into equal pay.”
William’s comments sparked a conversation about the gender pay gap in Hollywood.
Her co-star, Wahlberg, later donated his salary to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which supports people who have been victims of gender discrimination.
The actor has been reflecting on her role in the conversation while performing on The Graham Norton Show on Friday (January 20).
“It’s great when you’re in the middle of something like that and realize everyone is looking for you,” she told presenter Graham Norton.
Williams continued, “It ended up being an incredible teaching moment because the inequality was so huge that it really shed a light on women being underpaid in the workplace.”
“I found myself the best person to talk about it and I think so,” she said. “When I look back on my life, that will be the moment I’m most proud of. I am very shy but found my voice to stand up and speak out.”
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The actor appeared on the show to discuss her new movie, The Fables, based on director Steven Spielberg’s childhood. Williams plays Spielberg’s mother in the film.
The actor previously used her 2019 Emmy Awards acceptance speech for her role in Fosse/Verdon to speak out against discrimination.
Williams thanked UKTN 21 studios for their support, stating, “They understood that when you put value in a person, it allows that person to get in touch with their own inherent worth. And where do they put that value? They put it in their work.
“And so the next time a woman — and especially a woman of color, because she makes 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart — tells you what she needs to do her job, listen to her.”
She continued: “Believe her. Because one day she may stand in front of you and thank you for letting her succeed because of her work environment and not in spite of her.
The Graham Norton Show airs on Friday (January 20) on UKTN One at 10.40pm.